Cat curfews, mandatory de-sexing and microchipping of feline friends are part of a new proposal for responsible pet ownership.

Animal welfare and conservation groups jointly launched the plan for cats today, addressing impacts on wildlife and cat owners.

The National Cat Management Strategy Group (NCMSG), made up of eight national organisations including the SPCA, the Department of Conservation and the Morgan Foundation, met at a conference in Wellington today.

The group has called for nationwide mandatory microchipping and de-sexing of domestic cats when ownership is transferred as part of an increased focus on responsible pet ownership.


It also raises the possibility of cat curfews in ecologically sensitive areas and proposed ways to manage strays.

Ecologist John Innes said the proposal was a "welcome and significant advance".

"It does signal changes that are badly needed in the ways cats are regarded and managed, while acknowledging the complexity of the issue.

"Extension of cat micro-chipping is welcome because managers first of all need ways to clearly separate "loved" from feral and stray cats, so that appropriate action can be taken."

The New Zealand Veterinary Association, another member of NCMSG, acknowledged many cats were beloved pets and that the benefits of pet ownerships could be significant.

However, the Association said it was crucial cats were humanely managed in a way that both protected their welfare as well as the country's native species by 2025.

The New Zealand Veterinary profession said it would be playing a critical role through education to ensure a change in community attitudes, beliefs and behaviours essential to realise the NCMSG's vision.