Known for being cute, furry, and moody, cats are seen as generally harmless creatures. But a small New Zealand coastal village has apparently found plenty to be wary about.
The town of Omaui, located about 366 miles from Christchurch on the South Island, has proposed having a cat-free community in order to prevent the killing of local birds and wildlife. Officials say they have video footage of residents’ pet cats attacking and killing birds, reptiles, and insects throughout the city.
“There are cats getting into the native bush; they’re preying on native birds, they’re taking insects, they’re taking reptiles — all sorts of things. They’re doing quite a bit of damage,” said Ali Meade, biosecurity operations manager at Environment Southland, to New Zealand news site Newshub.
Under the proposal, residents with cats currently living in their homes will have to register and microchip their pets, and they must also have a tracking microchip implanted. Once the cat dies, that’s it — no offspring, no adoption, no more furry feline companions.
“Cats make wonderful pets — they’re spectacular pets! But they shouldn’t be allowed to roam outside — it’s a really obvious solution,” said Dr. Peter Marra, head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre, to the BBC.
Dr. Marra has researched and written extensively on the subject, concluding that roaming cats do much more harm than most people realize. “We would never let dogs do that. It’s about time we treat cats like dogs.”