For many people a cat is an adored companion, but unowned cats can have devastating impact on our native animals.
The term pest cat covers feral and stray cats that are unowned and live independently from people, and are not companion or pet cats. These cats can:
See the Regional Pest Management Plan 2019-2039 for more information about pest cats.
Brown Kiwis, Banded Dotterels and Saddlebacks are some of the species that need protection from pest cats. To protect these and other native species we undertake pest cat control in Key Native Ecosystem sites and work with local councils.
A cat that appears to be unowned may in fact be missing from its home. Cats wander long distances, particularly if frightened by something or confused by injury or illness.
If you suspect a cat is someone’s pet:
Do not touch, pick up, feed or provide shelter to a pest cat. They can be aggressive and can spread disease. See a doctor if you have been scratched or bitten by a feral or stray cat.
For advice on pest cats in your area, contact:
In areas where domestic cats are present, specially designed cages must be used to capture cats safely and alive.
If a domestic cat with a microchip is caught by mistake then it can be released or returned to its owner.
All live capture traps must be checked daily within 12 hours after sunrise. Find out more about Animal Welfare requirements for live trapping.
Research by NIWA on the effect of toxoplasmosis on Maui and Hectors dolphins
Bionet - information about pests and disease in New Zealand