Stray cats focus of project (+video)

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It's been just two months since the Bay of Plenty Community Cat Project was formed, yet in that time 14 Rotorua cat colonies have been registered and 56 cats trapped.

The project has been focusing on Rotorua's stray cat problem, with a main aspect being community education.

Project manager Maureen Wallace said with the support of the Department of Conservation, Rotorua Lakes Council and the SPCA they had been able to concentrate on the stray colonies taking over certain areas in Rotorua.

"When somebody rings in and says they have a cat problem, if it doesn't fall within the jurisdiction of the SPCA to deal with the cats (stray cats don't), then the phone call is passed to me and if it is a wild un-owned cat that is starting to breed or a kitten then I can become involved," Mrs Wallace said.

"With the limited funds we have it's first in best dressed and if they don't call and let me know that they have a colony I don't know where to go."

Once a complaint has been received Mrs Wallace heads out to "see what they have got, what the best way of trapping is, train them into how to use the traps, do flyers around the neighbourhood that they are in, informing people about responsible cat ownership and letting them know that we will be trapping and if they haven't got their cats desexed or microchipped to contact me so we can help get that sorted".

Cats are trapped, health checked, temperament tested, and if the person who registered the colony wants them back, they are desexed, microchipped and ear notched then returned.

If they don't want it back and if it has passed the temperament and health test it is desexed and surrendered to the SPCA who either adopt it out through their shelters or it is relocated to be adopted. So far most of the Rotorua cats have ended up in Christchurch.

"I think I have had around about 30 kittens so far who have shot the gap down south," Mrs Wallace said.

She said some of the cats were euthanised due to illness.

Mrs Wallace said they recently had a colony to deal where they caught seven adult cats, out of which only two were healthy enough to be re-homed. Both were females and one took on four stray kittens and nursed them at the shelter.

She has since been adopted out and Mrs Wallace said the family who took her couldn't believe how lovely she was.

"It's pretty busy, but it's fun. We are getting them out of the street and out from under people's homes."

The Project has a Givealittle page or people can donate funds through the SPCA. Better yet, as Mrs Wallace says, they can go down and volunteer at the SPCA.

"At the moment I'm doing seven days a week because there are very few people who are trained in looking after feral cats and we can't be putting people in danger of getting attacked by a cat."

She said any help people could give was hugely appreciated, but that the project was mainly about teaching people how to responsibly take care of their cats.

¦To register a colony see Mrs Wallace at the SPCA or fill in a colony registration form online at www.bopcats.co.nz.

Statistics for the first two months since BOPCCP was launched:
- Colonies registered: 14
- Trapped cats: 56
- Desexed and adopted to carer: 11
- Desexed and re-homed though Rotorua SPCA: 22
- Euthanised: 23
- Prevented births: 16

- Rotorua Daily Post

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