A rural Taranaki resident says we need to take responsibility for the feral cats killing our birdlife, but the reality of the task is quite grisly.
Pat Greenfield, of Plymouth Rd in Omata, said people dumping cats in rural areas were to blame for high numbers of strays, which picked off native birds.
"We should take ultimate responsibility. We brought cats here, we dumped them in the country," Mrs Greenfield said.
But the SPCA did not take wild-born cats and the only option for rural residents who found them was to pay a vet to euthanase them, or to deal with the cats themselves, she said.
"We are tasked with the awful job of getting rid of them."
North Taranaki SPCA spokeswoman Jackie Poles Smith said there was no easy solution to the problem of stray cats.
"If people would desex their animals and not dump unwanted pets, this would significantly reduce the numbers of wild cats in our community."
Ms Poles Smith said the North Taranaki SPCA was unable to safely hold wild cats.
"Anyone who finds a wild cat has an obligation themselves to ensure the animal is treated humanely or, if necessary, humanely euthanased," she said.
Mrs Greenfield keeps a journal of bird sightings on her property and also notes appearances of feral cats.
On Saturday she caught two feral kittens with a fish landing net and asked a neighbouring farmer if he could carry out the unpleasant task of killing them.
She said he waited until the kittens had settled then shot them in the back of the head so it was over quickly.
She said she found killing the innocent kittens hugely stressful but the alternative was to let them grow up and become killers.
"The mother is the one that needs to be killed to prevent more wild, unwanted killer cats from plaguing the place.
"Every day a cat lives, something has to die," Mrs Greenfield said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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