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  • Writer's pictureVAWA

Every cat in a lap

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

Are cat conversations still that controversial and contentious or is it just that they are really emotive? Gareth Morgan is often, and justly, noted as being an inciting cause to a big and ongoing conversation on cats in Aotearoa.

While his comments had unintended and perverse outcomes including creating strongly divided positions and unacceptable killing of cats, most would agree that getting the conversation on the national agenda was and continues to be a good thing.

Progress, however, has been frustratingly slow, despite the formation of the National Cat Management Strategy Group, their report, and a strong united voice from not only the Strategy Group but also many others in Aotearoa New Zealand, including conservationists.

As we inch towards Predator Free 2050, there remains a “cat-shaped hole” in the strategy – this needs to be urgently addressed to make meaningful progress towards the goal.

The work of the National Cat Management Strategy Group members and the united advocacy from many over the last decade has been strongly supported in the Environment Select Committee's report (July 2023) on cats. The recommendations are a great start in moving Aotearoa towards what's needed to keep cats and native species safe.

Eventually, stray cat management will need to be added so they are also responsibly managed. Once legislation is comprehensive and implemented, we can protect our native species and improve the overall welfare of cats.

VAWA's Cat Education and Advocacy

June 2023

On their website, Predator Free NZ have a great summary of some of the advocacy organisation's positions and presentations to the Environment Select Committee.

'...several animal welfare, conservation organisations and government agencies submitted their thoughts on national cat management. It may be surprising that there was a lot of agreement...'

Taken from Predator Free NZ's website

November 2022

September 2022

August 2022

  • VAWA spoke to Backyard Trapping Wanaka's meeting (powerpoint; vimeo)

  • The ODT covered the latter in advance. We asked for a couple of corrections in the story:

Eg remove "feral" from two statements and change release to "return:"

“It included a trap, neuter and release strategy, which could help address feral and stray populations.”

“She said if stray or feral cats were caught and euthanised it would not help as cats were territorial and other colonies would fill the gap that was left.”

It's not appropriate to use managed targeted Trap Neuter Return (mtTNR) for feral cats; they are in the bush and they cannot and should not be managed using this tool.


  1. feral cat - does not rely on human resource; seldom seen; bush cat

  2. stray - (un)managed/(un)social; live in and around human habitation; includes colony cats

  3. companion cats - in human guardianship.

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