Caged to be kind to strays

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These moggies might look cute but they’re part of a Wakatipu problem which two local women want to tame.
The district has hundreds of stray and wild cats roaming free – many abandoned by transient workers – and the felines are forming colonies.

This Arrowtown colony was tested for capture recently by Queenstown Cat Rescue – four of about 30 cats were caught.

The brainchild of Ruth de Reus and Julia Milley, non-profit Cat Rescue has been running for the past six weeks and already its founders are seeing results.

They’ve just been given funding for five new cages, adding to two they already have – so they’ll be out to prevent the colonies from growing.

With cat food as bait, the cages act as a harmless trap. Once caught, cats are taken to a vet to be checked and neutered – with some of them going to new homes. Others that are deemed unsuitable for re-homing are released back into their wild habitat, where cat rescue volunteers bring them food donated by the public.

About 20 cats have been success­­­­­­­fully re-homed or released so far.

“Mating season is upon us now and we want to take action straight away before that happens,” De Reus says.