A council in New Zealand’s South Island is proposing to ban all domestic cats as a means to protect native species of birds and mammals.
The Southland Regional Pest Management Plan calls for all domestic cats in the Omaui region to be registered, neutered and microchipped. When the animal passes away, residents will not be allowed to replace it.
John Collins of the Omaui Landcare Trust told Newshub: “We’re not cat haters, but we’d like to see responsible pet ownership and this really isn’t the place for cats.”
Only Bengal cats would be excluded from the plans, which are open for submissions until October.
The document states: “We propose to keep Bengal cats as an exclusion pest, as research suggests they have the potential to breed with the existing wild population of feral cats to create a more efficient predator.”
But resident Nico Jarvis told the Otago Daily Times she did not intend to comply with the plans, stating keeping her three cats was the only way to combat the “intense” rodent problem in the area.
“It doesn’t matter how many I trap and poison, more just coming in from the bush. They chew into your house, you can’t get rid of them. If I cannot have a cat, it becomes almost unhealthy for me to live in my house,” she said.
It’s not the first time the island’s feline population has found itself in the crosshairs. In 2013 prominent economist and environmentalist Gareth Morgan announced he wanted residents in his native New Zealand to neuter all pets and start turning strays over to be euthanised.
According to the BBC, cats have already been blamed for the global extinction of 33 species.
In the United States alone, cats are responsible for killing between 1.4 – 3.7 billion birds and 6.9 – 2.7 billion mammals a year.