Get ready for the Council Cat Gestapo

It’s only a matter of time, but once the council get their hands on registration, policing and enforcement, you can add a whole new income source and white coated pointy hat brigade.

New Zealand should follow Australia’s lead and adopt cat curfews, a group campaigning for tougher cat control laws says.

Across Australia councils are introducing strict laws cracking down on roaming cats in an attempt to stop them killing native animals.

Control measures include compulsory micro-chipping, desexing, household cat limits and curfews.

Victoria’s Yarra Range Council has gone as far as introducing a 24 hour cat curfew, meaning residents must keep their cats on their property at all times.

The controls are being introduced based on research showing that cats roam significant distances at night, making them a threat to native wildlife.

Morgan Foundation general manager Jessi Morgan said the New Zealand Government needed to make it easier for local authorities to introduce similar cat control measures.

The Morgan Foundation is a New Zealand think tank founded by anti cat campaigner and wealthy philanthropist Gareth Morgan.

Jessi Morgan said cats were even more problematic to New Zealand’s wildlife than Australia.

Public opinion is divided on the issue with a recent poll on Stuff, that attracted more than 7000 votes, showing that 51 per cent of people believed cats should have a curfew.

Auckland residents on social media site shared their views on cat curfews.

Hillsborough resident Margaret Stirrup said her cat was both spayed and micro-chipped, but it has been proven extremely difficult to keep it indoors at night.

“I have on many occasions tried to keep her in at night but to no avail. She has and always will be an outside cat,” Stirrup said.

Shaun Lee from Glen Innes said cat curfews would help with conservation of bird sanctuaries.

“They definitely hunt better at night when birds are disadvantaged,” Lee said.

The Morgan Foundation, along with the SPCA, New Zealand Veterinary Association, Companion Animal Council and Companion Animal Society recently formed the New Zealand Cat Management Strategy Group.

In September 2016 the strategy group launched a draft report calling for the Government to introduce more stringent cat management laws.

Morgan said it wanted cats to be managed the same way as dogs.

The report, called the National Cat Management Strategy, recommends the Government introduce laws that allow councils to easily implement cat control measures.

One would be to give local authorities the power to impose cat curfews close to and in ecologically sensitive areas.

At present there is no specific law managing cat control meaning it is up to regional councils to introduce its own bylaws.

“National legislation would make it a lot clearer as to what local authorities could do,” Morgan said.

Having an escape-proof garden for a dog is one thing. ?I’d hate to think what is needed to keep a cat on the property 24/7. ?Especially if the council won’t allow fences to be any higher than 1.8m.

But one thing you can take to the bank: ?when the councils get to implement this, they’ll want to have a register of cats. ?They’ll need annual registration fees. ?There will be a cat pound. ?There will be fees and fines every time your cat is caught off your property. ?Or worse… with a bird in its mouth.