Should New Zealand Cats Be Kept Indoors?
New Zealand’s remarkable birdlife evolved on a land without apex predators. Introduced cats have decimated their numbers. New Zealanders may have to change the way they keep cats, Stephen Dowling reports for the BBC.
New Zealand’s rate of cat ownership is the highest in the world – nearly half of all households have at least one cat.
What various conservation groups are pushing for is not just control of feral cat populations; they want New Zealand’s cat owners to rethink how their cats live, and what effect they might be having on the country’s wider natural environment.
Cat owners could be asked to consider keeping their cats indoors – away from the temptation of hunting and killing birdlife.
“Ten years ago, the discussion was very polarising,” Amelia Geary, a regional conservation manager for the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, says. “And people thought that if you needed to manage cats, it means getting rid of your pet. But now through all of my engagement in discussions about regulation, everyone’s united.”
Original article by Stephen Dowling, BBC, February 21, 2023.
Photo by Bogdan Farca.