Something that has really made me angry this week is the Waikato SPCA pushing a cat curfew idea to curb cats mating.
I certainly do not want to diminish the amazing work that SPCA do in New Zealand, but seriously pushing a cat curfew at night to stop reproducing? What the HELL?! I am all for cats being kept in at night to stop them from being run over etc.; but sometimes that is not always possible.
HOWEVER, the only thing that is going to stop cats reproducing is mandatory desexing. It is ridiculous to think that keeping cats in at night is going to stop them from mating because they obviously only mate at night. DUH!
I have been involved in cat rescue for over 5 years now and one of my closest friends has been doing cat rescue for well over 20 years. Her main focus is rescuing and desexing cats. Unfortunately, when the breeding season rolls around every year it seems like her massive efforts have made no difference to the 1000’s of unwanted kittens that are born both in the wild and to people’s cats that are not desexed.
One thing that always comes up about cats is the fact that they kill native birds and that they should be culled etc. To be honest, I expect that the loss of native bird life in certain areas is often more to do with changes to their habitat vs. cats. I am not naïve and I know that cats do kill birds from time-to-time; but I am sure that they are not the only problem. Let’s think about the rat population as well.
I have had cats all my life. I grew up in Titirangi which is inundated by Ducks, native Pigeons, Tui etc. Seldom did our cats ever kill native birds...actually I can only recall it happening once. Our cats have always been desexed and the only one that ever had kittens was because the vet told us she was a boy. So I know cats very well.
What do I think will make a difference to the number of stray/unwanted cats in New Zealand:
- Mandatory desexing, no ifs, no buts, no maybes
- ALL cats that are re-homed privately, through breeders, pet shops etc. are desexed
- Cats are microchipped and possibly registered
- Cat colonies are managed correctly with all new additions checked, desexed and have their ears tagged. I have seen how well properly managed colonies work with regular feeding etc.
- If your cat does have kittens then you are solely responsible for desexing her and her kittens before they are re-homed; then at least you can halt the breeding
I helped our rescue cat Max write a blog a few years ago about desexing. You can read that here.
So what do we need to do in New Zealand to start the process towards mandatory desexing and tighter regulation of pet shops, private sellers and breeders?