Plans to trap stray cats in Masterton park

By Amie Hickland -
Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Masterton's stray cat population has become a concern for Masterton District Council, who say the animals are snapping at children.

Councillors were updated on the council's efforts to control the town's cat population at Wednesday's resource management committee meeting.

Environment and planning manager Sue Southey said staff had been door-knocking in town to warn residents about plans to trap wild cats.

Households with cats were given tags to identify them if they were caught in the traps.

She said the cats were a nuisance in town as many were diseased, and they also attacked wildlife. So far about 20 had been caught.

Councillor Gary Caffell said he had spoken with a mother at Queen Elizabeth Park this week who had concerns over the feral cats at the park.

"She reckons she counted over 20 of them, and for the first time they're actually snapping at the kids," he said.

"She couldn't believe how many of them were there."

Mr Caffell said he had often seen two or three cats at the park, but never that amount.

Mrs Southey said groups of people fed the cats and they would have been aggressive toward the children as they would have been hungry.

Councillor Judith Callaghan said the cats may be an issue for the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

"If you can get rid of pohutukawa that are not indigenous to this part of the coast, we can get rid of cats that aren't indigenous to this country," Ms Callaghan said.

Chief executive officer Wes ten Hove said council must be careful how it treats the issue as some people see the cats as pests, while some see them as pets.

SPCA manager Val Ball said the park's cats had been around for years. They were not feral, but dumped strays which could be domesticated.

"I believe a lot of the cats have been dumped there," Mrs Ball said. She believed there were up to eight cats living in the park, not 20, and they live near the swing bridge, on the island in the duck pond and near the boat shed.

Mrs Ball said if the cats were brought into the centre, they were treated appropriately, and put down if necessary - not released back into the park.

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