Cat-astrophe as New Zealand village plans feline ban

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Cat owners in a small New Zealand village have been given paws for thought after a local council pledged to carry out a ban on the animals.

According to a “pest plan” put forward by Environment Southland, cat owners in Omaui, on the country’s South Island, will have to neuter, microchip and register their cats with local authorities.

The proposal states that when the cat dies, owners will not be allowed to purchase a new one.

“There’s cats getting into the native bush; they’re preying on native birds, they’re taking insects, they’re taking reptiles — all sorts of things,” biosecurity operations manager Ali Meade told the Newshub news service.

“They’re doing quite a bit of damage.”

The proposal is also being backed by Omaui Landcare Charitable Trust Chairman John Collins, who says removing cats from the area would enable native animals to thrive.

”We’re not cat haters, but we want our environment to be wildlife-rich,” he told the Otago Times.

”Native wildlife is disappearing rapidly around the country and places like this where people still live and enjoy and hear the birdsong are probably few and far between,” Collins said.

Submissions on the Southland regional pest management plan close on October 23.

New Zealand is currently embarking on an ambitious plan to become predator-free by 2050 with plans to eradicate species of possums, stoats and rats.

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