The days of stray cats roaming free and causing havoc in Hamilton are numbered with the launching of a $100,000 fund to desex and rehome them.
Organisations that can show proof of a cat desexing and rehoming programme are entitled to apply.
The council said the money can not be used to euthanise cats or desex privately-owned ones.
The city’s Animal Education and Control manager Susan Stanford said the idea came from the cat welfare group, Paws for Life.
She said it was believed to be the first of its kind in the country.
Ms Stanford said the stray cat problem in Hamilton was probably on a par with most cities.
“There are pockets, colonies through out our gullies and often you will get abandoned cats breeding under schools… Paws for Life recently cleared out a whole lot of stray and abandoned cats from one of our local high schools.”
She said stray cats caused of sorts of problems, such as impacting on native wildlife.
“The Hamilton City Council is trying to encourage native birds back into the city and if you have got a stray cat population that is feeding on them then that has an impact.”
Ms Stanford said the cats also ripped into rubbish bags.
“Often animal control will get a call about dogs tearing up rubbish, but when we get out there and investigate it there is a cat still in the bag.”
“The cats are causing mess around the street with rubbish.”
She said cat lovers had nothing to fear from the project.
“If the charities find stray cats they scan them to see if they are microchipped and advertise for owners to come forward.”
It is estimated, based on a Forest and Bird calculation of cats per square metre, the total cat population in Hamilton, both stray and domestic, is about 28,000.