Feral cat colony causes headaches

A wild cat colony in Wellington is raising hackles, with fur flying over who should deal with the problem.

A feral feline population has again exploded in Miramar, with an area of Miramar North Rd has overrun with about 30 wild cats.

Vet Allan Probert said he was contacted by the Cats Protection League to help.

The cats would need to be trapped and assessed, he said.He would euthanise the cats for a small fee if there was no hope of re-homing them.''

The cold hard reality is that someone needs to step up and do it.''

There are mixed feelings towards the cats in the neighbourhood.

One elderly woman, who was out when The Dominion Post visited, feeds them. 

A man, living near the colony, who requested not to be named, said he too quietly liked the cats and would not like want to see them euthanised. 

Cats Protection League treasurer Carol Kisby said it was contacted by Wellington City Council after the Wellington SPCA declined to help.

It was getting an increasing number of calls from people in the same situation.Some were in tears, she said.

''The SPCA really needs to come to the party. They get funding and we don't. We're just a small organisation.''

Mr Probert said he would be concerned if the Wellington SPCA was not prepared to deal with stray or wild cats.''It seems pretty odd.''

He called for compulsory microchipping of cats to control stray populations and hasten the return of lost cats to their owners.''Otherwise we could have a big cat crisis coming, and I can kind of see Gareth's point.''

High profile philanthropist Gareth Morgan last year launched his Cats To Go campaign, aimed at preserving the native bird population.

Amid much controversy, he proposed including fitting cats with bells, desexing them, keeping them indoors, or building outdoor enclosures and not replacing pet cats when they die.Wellington City

Council spokesman Richard MacLean said up to 30 cats were being regularly fed by one or more people in the area. It had received complaints from neighbours.

''It would be safe to say that it's a nightmare trying to deal with this sort of situation especially given the fact that for every person who loathes cats, there are others who love them and feed them.''

SPCA spokesman Mark Collyns said they had not been notified of the Miramar North problem. 

''When people notify us of problems with stray cats we have a set of procedures that we run through that aim to ensure the best animal welfare practices are put in place. 

''Wellington SPCA will always respond to an animal in need. If anybody calls us we will talk them through the options available that will ensure the best outcome for the animals,'' Mr Collyns said.

The Dominion Post