Help needed to halt feline cat-astrophe
Published on 17 August 2023
A charity tackling an uncontrolled cat population in the Far North is appealing for additional helpers following a funding boost from local community boards.
Coast to Coast Cat Rescue, formed in December 2022 as an offshoot of Bay of Islands Animal Rescue, received $10,000 from the Te Hiku Community Board in July to help minimise a wild cat problem that is harming native wildlife in the area. The group also received $5000 from the Kaikohe-Hokianga Community Board and $10,000 from Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board.
Co-ordinator Sam Stewart says the problem is so serious in Te Hiku, they are desperate for extra help in the community to support their work, particularly finding volunteers to help set humane traps that catch the feral feline population, and to educate the community about their work.
Since its inception, the group has had more than 450 cats and kittens enter its care, with 19 transferred to other rescue organisations and 373 rehomed. A total of 353 of those cats rescued were desexed, with another 335 in the community neutered in collaboration with the SPCA. A number of the cats brought in were very sick and had to be euthanised.
“We desperately need volunteers to help us co-ordinate trapping of cats and help educate on the need for desexing, particularly in the Kaitāia region,” says Sam. “Cats are prolific breeders. In three years, one unneutered female cat can have 376 offspring. People have come to us having just had two un-desexed cats that have turned into 30 within the space of a year!”
Stray and feral cats are often sick or injured. While the team aims to treat and rehome all cats, some arrive suffering such severe health issues they cannot be saved.
“It does not sit well with us to leave cats out in the wild, suffering or permanently petrified of humans,” says Sam.
If volunteers are uncomfortable trapping cats, they can do plenty of other vital work to support animal welfare and help reduce the feral cat population through education, providing information on desexing and helping book vet appointments.
If anyone, particularly in the Te Hiku area, would like to support the work of Coast to Coast Cat Rescue, contact Sam on 0226132317 or head to its Facebook page.
Photo: Tippy was recently rescued by Coast to Coast Cat Rescue.