Councillor suggests shooting wild cats
A colony of increasingly aggressive wild cats has taken to "snapping at kids" at a popular Masterton park.
The cats, described as "hungry and disgusting", have become a fixture at Masterton's Queen Elizabeth Park, and are often seen wandering the park's picnic areas.
The problem was discussed at a Masterton District Council committee meeting yesterday, with one councillor calling for the cats to be shot.
Councillor Gary Caffell said he had been contacted by a concerned mother who had counted 20 wild cats in 15 minutes while on a picnic at the park's Memorial Drive.
"They're actually snapping at the kids. For the first time, they're acting quite aggressive," he said.
"I've seen them myself and they look hungry and disgusting."
The council is trapping and putting down another colony of feral cats in Lansdowne with the help of the SPCA.
However, councillor Judith Callaghan suggested another "easy" method. "It's called lead," she said.
"If we can get rid of pohutukawas which aren't indigenous to the area, my God we can get rid of cats, which are not indigenous to the whole damn country."
Wairarapa SPCA president Val Ball said the cats were not technically feral as they were being fed by members of the public, and often appeared during the day.
"They're not feral, but they're not friendly either, but some people can handle them," she said.
However, the colony had become unmanageable as the cats were constantly breeding.
She thought it "extremely unlikely" they would snap at anyone, unless that person happened to be holding food.
Council chief executive Wes ten Hove said one of the main problems was that the cats were killing native birds.
He called for a report on the issue, and referred it to the next full council meeting.
The Dominion Post