Cat desexing on agenda

THE desexing of stray and feral cats is top priority in controlling the Gore district’s cat population.
Last Tuesday, a report by the cat management and control subcommittee was discussed at a Gore District Council policy and regulatory committee meeting.
The report said the uncontrolled breeding of cats was of significant concern.
It estimated between 8000 and 8560 cats inhabited the district, of which 4000-4300 were feral, 3560 were companion cats and 500-700 were stray cats.
Councillor Glenys Dickson said desexing the male cats could have positive outcomes.
‘‘Then you do not have any further issues,’’ Cr Dickson said.
She was the chair of the cat management working party that created the report.
Chief executive Stephen Parry supported the idea to desex the cats.
‘‘It won’t break the bank but it could make an impact,’’ Mr Parry said.
The subsidised cost to desex a male cat could be $30 and $50 for a female.
Cr Neville Phillips believed it was council’s responsibility to act quickly on the issue.
‘‘We are lucky we’ve got a dedicated group of people out there doing a great job in keeping our population down,’’ Cr Phillips said.
The cat management working party had four community members — Andrea McMillan, Melanie Ferguson, Shona Willis and Angela McFall.
Ms McMillan said the council should be proactive rather than reactive.
The idea to establish a cat shelter was also discussed at the meeting.
Following the closure of the Gore SPCA in 2020 the district was left without an animal shelter.
Mr Parry said that there was no building the council could repurpose into a shelter.
It would need to be constructed to take account of modern welfare regulations and community expectations about how animals are kept and controlled, he said.
Cr Dickson supported an investigation into the establishment of a cat shelter.
‘‘It doesn’t mean that we have to go ahead with it but it’s worthwhile looking into.’’