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Review

The Implications of Policies on the Welfare of Free-Roaming Cats in New Zealand

Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA NZ), Auckland 0640, New Zealand
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Academic Editors: Carla Litchfield and Eugenia Natoli
Animals 2022, 12(3), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12030237
Received: 30 November 2021 / Revised: 22 December 2021 / Accepted: 4 January 2022 / Published: 19 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behavioural Ecology and Welfare of Free-Ranging Cats)
Free-roaming cats in New Zealand include companion, stray, and feral cats, mostly defined based on their relationship with people. As such, the different policy mechanisms in New Zealand related to addressing the impacts of free-roaming cats reflect these different types of relationships. In this paper, we review the current laws and related regulations, codes, plans, and local bylaws related to cat management and identify the implications they have on cat welfare. Currently, there is no national law for cat management in New Zealand; however, we suggest that there is reason to create national legislation to ensure that cat management is humane and consistent across New Zealand.
A lack of national legislation for cat management in New Zealand poses challenges for ensuring that practices are consistently humane and effective. In this paper, we review the current cat management policies in New Zealand and the implications they have on the welfare of free-roaming cats (from here on, referred to as ‘cats’). Our review demonstrates that there are multiple policy mechanisms used to manage cats in New Zealand for a variety of reasons, including animal welfare, pest management, and nuisance, and that these different policies have both positive and negative implications for cat welfare. We provide context pertaining to New Zealanders’ acceptance of current or future laws and regulations and compare the New Zealand policy landscape with other countries, with a particular emphasis on Australia, to identify potential directions and outcomes of increased regulation. We discuss the future of the regulatory environment in New Zealand, including the need to better understand the impact of policies on cats, people, and other animals in urban, rural, and wild spaces. We further discuss the need to better understand the cat–human relationship for future policy decisions and offer a solution based on national cat legislation. View Full-Text
Keywords: companion cat; stray cat; feral cat; cat legislation; human-animal bond companion cat; stray cat; feral cat; cat legislation; human-animal bond
MDPI and ACS Style

Sumner, C.L.; Walker, J.K.; Dale, A.R. The Implications of Policies on the Welfare of Free-Roaming Cats in New Zealand. Animals 2022, 12, 237. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12030237

AMA Style

Sumner CL, Walker JK, Dale AR. The Implications of Policies on the Welfare of Free-Roaming Cats in New Zealand. Animals. 2022; 12(3):237. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12030237

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sumner, Christine L., Jessica K. Walker, and Arnja R. Dale. 2022. "The Implications of Policies on the Welfare of Free-Roaming Cats in New Zealand" Animals 12, no. 3: 237. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12030237

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