Wellington has a stray cat problem.
The New Zealand city needs to get rid of 30,000 strays in the next five years. And while the prevailing methods of cat control in neighboring Australia involve mass euthanasia, the Kiwis are taking a more compassionate approach.
Wellington is looking to Outpawed, a group that cares for wild cats, to re-home the strays through neutering its local cats and finding them new homes, Stuff reports.
The city has made a distinction between strays and feral cats and is only targeting stray cats with this initiative. There maybe as many as 30,000 strays in the New Zealand Capital, but feral cats are controlled by the Greater Wellington Regional Council.
According to the Council, “Both feral and unwanted cats pose a real threat to native species.”
Cats have been responsible for the decline of New Zealand’s adult birds, eggs, lizards, fish, frogs, and large invertebrates, the council reports, and will kill even after eating, when they are not hungry.
“We see the stray cat issue as a community responsibility,” Outpawed’s Victoria Skinner said. “Through poor management and irresponsible pet ownership, humans have contributed to the problems with unsocialised stray cats. As such, we have a responsibility to reverse the damage we have done.”
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Wellington aims to avoid euthanizing any cats in this process, and the city is confident the job can be done.
“We are in a strong position in Wellington to solve the stray cat problem,” said Wellington city councillor Peter Gilberd. “If anyone can, we can do it.”
As Wellington’s felines are rounded up and re-homed, we hope their future forever families offer the care and compassion those cats need. The reality of life for shelter pets is much less lovely. Millions of shelter animals face uneasiness and anxiety every day, waiting for the right forever family to come along. But there’s a way you can help.
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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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