Photo Credit Department of Conservation
The threat. Feral cats have a significant impact on New Zealand's native and non-native species. The basis of their diet alters with the habitat they live. Cats will feed on rabbits, birds and bird eggs, rats, hares, bats, lizards, mice, wētā and other insects.
But do we know what our domestic cats are up to when not in visual range?
As cat owners know, domestic cats are highly efficient killers. A year-long study of 208 cats in urban Dunedin showed that they kill more birds, skinks, geckos, and weta than rats and mice. There is ample evidence of the threat cats pose to wildlife and how being a responsible owner does reduce the damage they do.
So how can we become responsible cat owners?
Photo Credit M Robertson
Owning a cat is a responsibility for the cat's lifetime. Cats are New Zealand's most popular companion animal. As a cat owner, microchipping, de-sexing, keeping your cat inside as much as possible and attaching two bells to your cat's collar will help keep them and other animals, including native wildlife, safe and well.
The purrfect option would be a Catio!
Credit Photo https://catiospaces.com/
Cats naturally want to be outside where they can experience the sights and sounds of the natural world. A catio is an outdoor cat enclosure or "cat patio." A catio is a perfect solution to solve the indoor/outdoor dilemma. It will keep your cat safe, healthy and happy. It will also give you peace of mind knowing that your cat is safe while protecting birds and wildlife. So many clever ideas – google a few!
The Companion Cats Code of Welfare 2018 provides guidance and legal minimum standards for the care of companion cats.
Article written by Bev Wilkinson – WReNNZ Committee Member