Cat woman's big brood 'an utter nuisance'

EVAN HARDING
Last updated 05:00 15/11/2012
cat woman
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ

CAT COMMUNE: These three cats on a north Invercargill property are among many felines residing at the address which are upsetting neighbouring residents.

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A north Invercargill woman whose multitude of cats are infuriating neighbouring residents has vowed to keep all her felines even if a city council bylaw is passed limiting her to three cats.

The woman, who is understood to own at least 15 cats, said all of hers were desexed, healthy, had names and were part of the family.

But neighbours are understood to be at their wits' end with her cats wandering onto their properties, upsetting their own pets and pooing on their lawns.

One neighbour said the woman's cats were a "complete and utter nuisance". She said she had counted 13 at the woman's property last week.

When asked if the neighbours had had a gutsful, the neighbour said it went beyond that.

"The cats are causing a huge problem . . . we are trying to deal with the issue [with the city council]."

The cat owner said she had experienced "viciousness" from her neighbours and believed several of her cats which had disappeared had been killed or stolen.

The council this week drafted a Keeping of Animals Bylaw which will go out for public consultation next year. If implemented, the bylaw will restrict each home to three cats if their owners fail to keep felines in check.

The cat owner indicated she intended to keep all of her cats regardless of any bylaw.

"I won't be getting rid of my cats."

She had been in contact with city council staff and sent them a management plan detailing how she would be enclosing her property "so the cats feel more inclined to stay in my property than go to others", she said.

She owned "a few extra cats" because when she was attending the Southern Institute of Technology she discovered cats starving, so took some into her home, she said.

"I was seeing these animals uncared for every day and that was hard for me, so I brought them home and thought I was doing something decent."

She had spent "thousands" on veterinarian bills and desexing the cats but the money had run dry, she said.

The cat numbers at her house initially multiplied, but numbers had been stable for several years and she had no plans to get any more, she said.

She declined to say how many cats she owned.

The woman said she understood her neighbours' concerns and did not want to cause them any harm or disrespect, but added that other people's pets also roamed the neighbourhood.

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