Auckland Council has clarified felines without microchips won't be put down in urban areas.

Their comments follow concerns from cat lovers their moggies were in danger if they weren't microchipped.

The council is in the process of reviewing its Regional Pest Management Plan, which suggests any cat caught in an "ecologically significant site" without a microchip could be put down.

Auckland Council's biosecurity manager Phil Brown said the proposed approach did not involve controlling non-microchipped cats in urban areas. The approach in the plan instead "represents the continuation of current practice" in many ways.

The proposed programme provides for management of cats at high biodiversity value sites.

"As is currently the case, trapping may be used at those sites identified as ecologically significant where cat control is carried out alongside other pest control. It's not a reactive programme; it will be well planned at specific sites of ecological significance where rats, possums and other pests are also being managed."

The new aspect is that council is clarifying when a cat is considered a "pest cat".

"The absence of a microchip will be used to determine whether a cat is considered a pest at these sites. At high-biodiversity-value sites, some non-microchipped cats will be euthanised, as is the case with other pest animals."

The proposed plan also does not involve compulsory microchipping, Brown added.


"The council does, however, encourage voluntary microchipping as part of being a responsible pet owner."

New Zealand Cat Foundation chairman Anne Batley-Burton told the Herald she was concerned about the proposed policy.

She said while she was pleased to hear cats in urban areas wouldn't be targeted, she questioned how the council would define "high-biodiversity-value sites".

"If they include reserves and parks this could still be a huge concern. Imagine if the Rose Gardens, the Domain or the Ayr Street Reserve were to be included, and the problems that would arise if cats were being picked up and put down if they happened to wander into those areas?"

Brown said high-biodiversity-value sites included sites of special ecological interest or significant native ecosystems such as the Hunua Ranges or parts of Great Barrier Island.

It wouldn't include highly modified parkland like the Parnell Rose Garden or Auckland Domain.

However, it is yet to be decided if suburbs backing on to bush like the North Shore's Chatswood Reserve fit the definition.

"Chatswood Reserve does have some significant ecological areas on it, and we'd have to look into it further, but there is nothing proposed there for now or in the imminent future.


"We would never start pest cat control at a new site without letting the community know first."

Currently cats in New Zealand do not require a microchip by law.