Claws out in Omaui's cat fight as felines face 'sunset clause' on their population

The claws are out in Omaui's cat fight.

The small Southland beach town near Bluff may be about to become the first to experiment going cat-free, but it's an experiment that's not going down well with some moggy owners.

TVNZ1's Seven Sharp reports Omaui's spectacular bird life is one of the reasons Environment Southland has come up with a unique policy to come down on cats.

"We're investigating the possibility of a sunset clause on domestic cat ownership which would mean that after the natural life span of the cat ends that you wouldn't be able to replace that cat," said Alex Morgan of Environment Southland.

Nico Jarvis is leader of the pro-cat faction.

"I have a lot of strong feelings about it. My main reason for having a cat was that I spent two years struggling to maintain the rodents," she said.

Asked what would happen if Environment Canterbury got rid of the cats over time, she said she imagines there would be an infestation of mice and probably rats.

"And we have a handful of domestic cats that are fed and cared for. And removing them does not, long-term, remove the issue."

The main anti-cat protagonist in the town, John Collins, wasn't home when Seven Sharp called in.

Environment Canterbury is giving Omaui a chance to mull over the cat "sunset clause" for a couple of months and will make a decision on it next year.

Predator Free NZ is asking New Zealanders to consider whether we should have pets at all. Source: Seven Sharp