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, New Zealand Veterinary
Association spokeswoman Dr Catherine Watson says.
NZVA supported the eradication of true feral cat populations
because of the risks posed by such cats.
''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,'' Dr Watson said.
A good example of the problems caused by feral cats was the
issue the Department of Conservation was facing with its
birdlife recovery programme in Central Otago. The programme
had been set up to protect ''highly endangered'' birdlife.
The main threat to these bird colonies was feral cats,
according to data collected by Doc, she said.
Cat owners, rural and urban, must do their bit to support the
country's native species. Some simple measures included cats
indoors at night, attaching a collar and bell, ensuring cats
were microchipped and neutered.
Regular health checks, adequate feeding, and access to fresh
water would ''go a long way to keeping cats at home and out
of trouble'', she said.