Some people are celebrating Global Cat Day (16th October) here in New Zealand by advocating frightening measures to restrict the movement of family cats and destroy ferals. This is in spite of many rescues working hard to come to the negotiating table with councils about New Zealand cat care. Let me explain my concerns.
Why Global Cat Day? “The change from National Feral Cat Day to Global Cat Day reflects that fact that Alley Cat Allies’ mission is to protect and improve the lives of all cats–pet, stray, or feral. Year after year, international participation in National Feral Cat Day grew, because compassion knows no borders…….” – Alley Cat Allies
I have always been proud to live in New Zealand, it has some of the nicest people, and does its best to value its heritage but a development, amongst some councils, is a cause for concern due to the total lack of forethought and compassion.
Wellington City Council Listens
Councils, like our own here in Wellington really engage with rescues and organisations which is so positive and hopeful. Maybe there is hope, but we need to speak up for those less eloquent than ourselves. Global Cat Day encourages us to speak out.New Zealand Has Many Challenges on #GlobalCatDayClick To Tweet
The proposed changes would be hard hearted and lacking in foresight, in spite of supposed input from major New Zealand animal protection agencies. Some councils propose making New Zealand a kill nation, undermining its respected position as a country that does not use kill shelters, or use gas chamber traps like Australia.
The cat proposals are a cause for concern
- Rumoured mass exterminations of ferals. No mention of discussions about Spay and Neuter, or help for pet owners. No proposals for TNR/Community Cat care (TNR = Trap – Neuter – Return). We need to discuss and impliment TNR + Spay/Neuter and the outcome can be very positive.
- Compulsory identification (microchips). Not so bad maybe? Sure, while everyone one of my cats is chipped I worry how low income people will be able to afford this compulsory element. Will they dump the cat so they eat this week? Financial help and lower costs for chipping is important to make this work well.
- Cat Curfews. A nightmare for everyone. If a cat gets out and some vigilante grabs it, it could end up dead, or with a fine councils might use finance the initiative. I find it very difficult to keep our cats indoors at night, they get distressed, they make a heck of a noise. Again many on lower incomes suffer and every owner will suffer hours of anguish because the cat doesn’t come back with it’s little watch tells it to.
- On the positive side Some councils, like Wellington are in dialogue with feral/stray organisations. The Council wants to talk, and they gain a lot of goodwill and respect for doing so.They listen to people not money – their aim is finding a good balance between cats and people. If every council did this there would be no need for any of us to worry – maybe.
Cats not chipped will, at worst, be executed on the spot
A worst case scenario by an aggressive council. If an officer testing for a chip ‘out in the field’, does not test for it properly, or forgets chips can migrate, or that they can even stop working, all the time they are struggling with an angry cat, a family pet risks disposal at a moment’s notice. The thought is utterly frightening and we need reassurance this will not happen.
“Although microchip implants are marketed as a permanent form of identification they can stop working or be expelled from the animal’s body. Microchips are also known to migrate and become lost within the body, making identification difficult.” – DogsNaturally
Everyone who loves cats to do 2 things on Global Cat Day
- Scroll down this linked page to fill in this form and help Alley Cat Allies be a voice for cats worldwide on Global Cat Day. They aim for 100,000 citizens, let’s beat that figure!
- Make your voice heard locally in New Zealand. Be respectful, and ask for a Council’s intention with respect to cats. Express concern and do not rant. A council will take board respectful expressions of disquiet and worry, and a written letter can be even more effective than an email. Express concerns to your local councillor.
This is NOT simple. There are many issues to be discussed
- The legislation needs to be discussed extensively with the public. Shelters will speak up, and community cats will have people like The Outpawed Rescue Trust (who we interviewed here) and Feral Nation, and dozens of feral groups New Zealand wide will speak for them.
- You can find great information on the case for TNR here. Colonies reduce in size and the outcome is positive.
- The ease with which cat haters trot out their statistics ‘pro’ their cause often fools people into thinking there is no research that gives an alternative, less biased, view. There is. We also need to remember that statistics are a fancy name for numbers, and these numbers are always open to interpretation. In short, figures can be made to say exactly what you, or I, might want them too. Just ask any Economist…….
- One of the most important to be addressed is the financing of any action taken against cats, community cats and ferals. Any money spent killing ferals is less money spent on education, and the health of the community. They cannot rely on fines from those whose cats are caught outside after curfew – they will terrify people into submission on that score.
The Alley Cat Allies Position on Community Cats, today and every day.
Join Global Cat Day!
Marjorie and the
Dash Kitten Crew