It was refreshing to participate in such an enlightened discussion on the responsibilities of cat owners as was conceited by SBS television in Australia. This hour long studio audience presented all the points of view but by far the most encouraging thing for me was the responsible attitude taken by the various cat caring organisations including Australia’s SPCA. It really did emphasise how far ahead of thinking in New Zealand, Australia has moved. The various States with all their requirements that cat owners have their pets microchipped and registered and the councils with their sanctions upon owners for allowing their cats to wander, are an exemplar for New Zealand which, on the area of cat confinement remains like a Wild West.
It is a shame that a similar demonstration of community responsibility and respect for the rights of fellow citizens to have their property, health and lifestyles protected from the intrusion of wandering cats, remains beyond New Zealanders. And what’s more the hypocrisy of this from a nation that pretends it cares about its native fauna makes a mockery of our self-promotion to the world as environmentally responsible. It was a privilege to participate in the Australian debate – as I have in discussions in Canada, the UK and the US now – all of which are progressing policies on cat confinement that highlight New Zealand’s negligence.