New Zealanders are moaning again about giant feral cats ravaging their countryside

New Zealand is reporting that giant feral cats are "absolute muscle", and they are ravaging the native species in their picturesque country. Their muscular frames and large sizes (at up to 10 kg which is about twice the weight of a standard house) are being attributed to the fact that these special feral cats are dining out on the best native wildlife that New Zealand can offer them. 

RELATED: Australia’s feral cats can grow to twice the normal size.

The photograph on this page is unpleasant with a grinning New Zealander holding a tabby feral cat by the tail. It seems that the head of the animal has been deliberately cropped out to make the image acceptable. I suspect that the cat was shot in the head which is an inhumane way to kill an animal despite what the shooters say.

Flock Hill Station pest control manager Browny with a 10kg feral cat
Flock Hill Station pest control manager, Browny, with a 10kg feral cat. Image: supplied.

Because of this kind of picture, New Zealand's conservationist are urging the government to do something about their feral cats. They want a national policy on cats. Once again, they wheel out these vague estimates of the number of native species being killed by feral cats which are based upon small-scale studies extrapolated up. You cannot guarantee the accuracy of the studies, far from it.

Forest and Bird regional conservation manager Amelia Geary provocatively said that feral cats were "smashing" the kea population as well as wildlife on the Canterbury Plains. The feral cats in New Zealand are feeding on rabbits, birds, bird eggs, lizards and wētā plus native birds which don't stand a chance against these monsters. The wētā is the common name for a group of about 100 insect species inhabiting New Zealand.

RELATED: 24 cat disappearances: New Zealanders reap what they sow.

Sean Ellis, a pest controller, said that the cats he managed to trap, and I presume kill, were in great condition indicating that they were feeding well. He said: "Once they become good killers, they live on the best meat. They are absolute muscle."

People like Mr Ellis want a cat registration policy and the mandatory desexing of pet cats and kittens. Comment: I think that a registration policy across an entire country is very difficult to enforce as is mandatory neutering and spaying of domestic cats. It may be impractical to have such legislation introduced. This is one of the practical problems of imposing restrictions on cat ownership. It is all about enforcement and the difficulties thereof!

Mandatory micro-chipping is being introduced to New Zealand. I suspect that veterinarians will be asked to enforce this kind of cat ownership restrictions. There was a bylaw change in July when Selwyn District Council became the fifth local authority to introduce mandatory micro-chipping for cats under 4-months-of-age.

Mr Ellis predicts that if 10 domestic cats are abandoned eight of them will die and the remaining two will learn how to survive and survive very well to become large well-muscled feral cats as described in the first paragraph. That paints a rather bleak picture of cat ownership in New Zealand, and I do not know whether it is accurate or not.


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