Desex cats, don't kill them - SPCA

Debate has swirled following yesterday's suggestion by the Veterinary Association to cull stray cats, with the SPCA now saying it is not the answer.

SPCA's Bob Kerridge doesn't believe stray cats attacking native birds is a major issue Source: Breakfast

Executive director of SPCA Auckland, Bob Kerridge, is putting his support behind desexing.

"I don't think killing is the answer for any problem," Mr Kerridge told TV ONE's Breakfast this morning, instead promoting responsible cat ownership, microchipping and keeping cats indoors at night.

"Desexing, we think, is the answer, rather than killing."

The SPCA conducted a survey of 28 cat colonies in Auckland, and Mr Kerridge says the population reduced by 48% over a couple of years. "It works, desexing will stop the population growth."

New Zealand has the highest cat owning population in the world, with 1.5 million registered cats nationwide, and the Veterinary Association yesterday said urgent action is needed to help get cat numbers down

A core argument for the culling of stray and feral cats is their slaughter of native birds and other wildlife, but Mr Kerridge says research has proven the numbers are minimal.

"An average cat catches 20 prey a year. 20% of that prey are birds, and just under 3% are native birds. The rest are rodents and that sort of thing."

But the Lonely Miaow Association, a group of volunteers who collect and try to rehome 700 strays a year, yesterday agreed with the Veterinary Association that a cull was inevitable.

"The more we get on top of the problem, the fewer will be euthanised at the end of the day but it has to be done sadly," says volunteer Peter Dormon.

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