Cats are beloved companion animals in New Zealand. Many cat owners appreciate the benefits of responsible cat ownership such as desexing and microchipping their cats and to a lesser extent keeping their cats at home.
However, there are gaps in responsible cat ownership resulting in cat overpopulation that negatively impacts our urban, rural, and wild communities. There are approximately 1.2 million companion cats in 41% of households across New Zealand, but only:
- 88% of owners desex their cats (a downward trend from previous reports),
- 49% microchip their cats; and
- 11% keep their cats at home.
Firstly, people with cats who roam enjoy the benefits of companionship, but do not pay the true cost for letting their cat roam, especially if they are not desexed or microchipped. Secondly, there is a failure of government to protect public goods of cat welfare, native wildlife, reducing transmission of toxoplasmosis to native marine mammals and pastoral animals, and controlling nuisance in communities.
The current patchwork approach to management of cats in New Zealand is ineffective and inhumane.
SPCA advocates for the New Zealand government to take a leadership role in supporting comprehensive cat management, including requirements for cats to be microchipped, with the microchipped registered, and to be desexed unless they are registered breeding animals.
SPCA further supports legislation that enables local councils to pass bylaws to manage cats to protect biodiversity, including the registration of cats on a government database.
The National Cat Management Strategy Group (members include SPCA, the New Zealand Veterinary Association, the Morgan Foundation, Local Government New Zealand, Companion Animals New Zealand, and observer members MPI and DOC) has extensively reviewed cat management in New Zealand. They recommend comprehensive cat management legislation that requires companion cats are desexed, microchipped and microchip registered, and kept at home.
Breeding Companion Animals
Responsible Animal Ownership
Identification of Companion Animals
Keeping Cats Safe at Home
The Petition of Erica Rowlands: Mandate the registration and desexing of pet cats and kittens - Petitions Committee
Whangārei District Council Animals Bylaw - Whangārei District Council