Cat owners in the village of Omaui in New Zealand are not happy about a new plan to ban all domestic felines. But to save the local ecosystem, it’s a drastic step that Environment Southland firmly believes is the solution.
New Zealand is known for its rich flora and fauna, and Omaui has a particularly delicate ecosystem. The Omaui Landcare Trust reports a reduction in the numbers of birds, reptiles and certain insects due the abundance of pet cats roaming free outside. Rated as 100 on a long list of environmental pests, conservationists believe outdoor cats place a huge threat to natural wildlife and don’t belong in protected areas like Omaui. This isn’t the first ban set in place prohibit cat and it’s definitely not the last.
Pet cats have enjoyed a population boom in the past decade or so with the advent of social media. Everybody loves an #lolcats video. In America alone, there is an estimated 86 million domestic cats and many are free to wander outside...and hunt.
Conservationists blame this increase in outdoor cats for significant drops in bird populations. On a global scale, they say cats are wreaking havoc on the environment, killing natural wildlife and disrupting the delicate ecosystem. Some vets even go as far as to say that domestic cats don’t belong outside. They believe all cats should be raised the same as dogs – housed indoors and leashed for supervised walks outside. Dogs are not allowed to roam free outdoors, so why should cats?
The new ban in Omaui wants all cat owners to neuter, microchip and register their pet cats. With this register, they will be able to keep track of all living resident cats. They are the last surviving cats the village will see. Once they live out their natural lifespan, no other cats will replace them. The village of Omaui will become a cat-free zone.
It’s a controversial topic that raises many questions, but one we need to all sit up and take notice. As cat lovers, we would hate to have such an extreme ban put on our kitty friends. So maybe it’s time to take more responsibility as cat owners. Should pet cats be allowed to roam free outdoors? Statistics say outdoor cats live half as long as indoor cats, so maybe all pet cats should be fully domesticated, like a dog? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.