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New microchipping and desexing rules for domestic cats in Lower Hutt

Hutt City Council has voted to introduce “chipping and snipping” rules for domestic cats.

As of 28 March 2024, the Control of Animals Bylaw now includes a section on the Keeping of Cats, which requires owners of cats over 12 weeks of age to ensure the cat is:

  • Microchipped;
  • Registered on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register (NZCAR); and
  • Desexed (unless kept for breeding purposes and registered with a nationally recognised cat breeders’ body; or deferred if a registered veterinarian has determined it would negatively impact the cat’s health and welfare)

Councillor Andy Mitchell said the changes would help reduce feral cat populations and the huge number of unwanted cats surrendered to animal welfare groups, and make it easier to reunite lost cats with their owners.

“Having fewer feral and unwanted cats will also help protect our wildlife. There are currently more than 19,000 cats registered on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register with a Lower Hutt address, but there are many more unregistered and feral cats out there,” he says.

Desexed animals are also less aggressive and less prone to urine and scent marking behaviour.

Cr Mitchell acknowledged there was a cost involved in microchipping and desexing cats, and said Council staff would work with organisations such as SPCA to organise and promote low-cost chipping and snipping events.

The community was invited to make submissions on the proposed changes in October and November last year. Results demonstrated 92% overall support for the amendments. Many respondents provided extra comments calling for more stringent measures such as limiting the numbers of cats per household and keeping cats indoors.

SPCA and cat rescue organisations will continue working to reunite lost cats with owners, but registered microchipping will make that much easier. If your non-microchipped cat is picked up you will not be fined but may have to pay a “reuniting fee” through the SPCA before it’s returned. This fee covers the costs of looking after your cat and treating illness or injury if required.

More information at hutt.city/cats

 

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