Margaret Rawiri: Cat may be taking you for a ride

By Margaret Rawiri

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It is again time to remind everyone of our collar-and-tag procedure and to ask you not to be cross if we suggest this and send you away with the cat after you have gone to the effort of catching it.

We appreciate you feel you have done a good thing but that fat, healthy cat more than likely belongs to someone down the street.

We do care about that cat but it is important that we give it the best chance possible of going home.

Cats can travel many kilometres on a daily basis. They're very smart and, if they think there is the possibility of food at the other end, they will return again and again. But that does not mean they aren't going to head home at the end of the day.

We always inquire if you asked all your neighbours and often get the reply: "Yes, we've done that." Then someone who lives down the street comes in to claim the cat, saying they were never approached.

We also have limited cage space and can't take in every healthy cat the public brings us.

The constant flow is great and we must focus on the sick and injured and animals in need.

We are definitely not here to take in that nuisance cat. If it continues dig holes in your garden, find the owner and talk to him. Don't bring the cat to us - you will be asked to return it.

If you bring us a healthy cat we will ask you to place a collar and tag on the cat saying: "If this is your cat please call (your number)."

And the cat may not go home if you are continually feeding it.

All of this gives an owner a chance to see the collar and give you a call.

We will put the details on our database in case someone calls who has lost their cat.

If after seven days the cat is still around with the collar on then we will take it in - provided we have the space. Please ring us first.

If at any time you feel the cat's health has taken a turn for the worse then call us, this procedure only applies to healthy cats - we will take in any sick or injured cats who have no owners.

Margaret Rawiri is operations manager for the Tauranga SPCA.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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