The New Zealand Veterinary Association announced its support for the killing of the island nation’s feral cats in a news release today.
New Zealand residents who keep or care for cats can consider the position taken by the Association, whose members they support with the money they spend for their cats’ medical needs.
The NZVA states its position as follows:
New Zealand Veterinary Association Supports Eradication Of Wild, Feral And Stray Cats
“Stray, feral and domesticated cats are a major threat to many endangered species and more work needs to be done by ‘everyone’ to protect biodiversity”, says Dr Catherine Watson speaking on behalf of the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA).
Because of the risks posed by such cats, NZVA supports the eradication of true feral cat populations. Not only will this protect native wildlife, but most feral cats harbour disease and are inadequately fed, so there are significant animal welfare implications for these domestic pets that have gone wild.
A very good example of the problems caused by feral cats is the issue the Department of Conservation (DOC) is facing with its bird life recovery programme in Central Otago. This programme has been set up to protect the highly endangered birdlife.
The main threat to these bird colonies is feral cats according to data collected by DOC.
Cat owners, rural and urban, must also do their bit to support our native species. Some simple measures include cats indoors at night, attaching a collar and bell, ensuring cats are microchipped1 and breeding cats are neutered.
Dr Watson says regular health checks, adequate feeding, and access to fresh water, will go a long way to keeping cats at home and out of trouble.
 Over 80% of microchipped cats which were found after the Canterbury earthquakes that had microchips were reunited with their owners. However, only 15% of unmicrochipped cats were reunited with their owners.
1 February 2013
The NZVA promotes itself as “the collective voice of New Zealand’s veterinary profession,” with over 75% of the nations’ veterinarians belonging to the organization. “Members come from many different areas of the veterinary industry, including biosecurity and food safety, clinical practice as well as pharmaceutical research and teaching. By bringing everyone closer under the NZVA umbrella we aim to help New Zealand veterinarians work together to improve animal health and welfare worldwide.”