Microchipping, registration and desexing of cats

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Microchipping, registration and desexing of cats

Let us know what you think about proposed new chipping and snipping rules for domestic cats.

Hutt City Council is seeking public feedback on proposed amendments to the Control of Animals Bylaw to include a section on the Keeping of Cats. The key proposals are:

  • Mandatory microchipping of cats
  • Mandatory registration of microchipped cats on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register (NZCAR)
  • Mandatory desexing of cats

These changes would help to reduce feral cat populations and make it easier to reunite lost cats with their people.

We want to ensure our beloved moggies aren’t causing harm to wildlife, and managing numbers by desexing will reduce the number of domestic and feral cats in Lower Hutt. Desexing also has welfare benefits for the desexed animal such as being less aggressive and less prone to urine and scent marking behaviour.

Submissions on these proposals are open until 5pm on 6 November 2023 and can be emailed to Policy@huttcity.govt.nz. Alternatively, you can drop off a written submission or receive help with submitting online at any Council hub or contact policy@huttcity.govt.nz. Submissions may also be posted C/O Policy Team, Hutt City Council, Private Bag 31-912, Lower Hutt 5040.

Oral submissions will be heard at a Council sub-committee hearing which will be open to the public. If you indicate in your submission that you would like to be heard, Council staff will get in touch with you to arrange a time at the hearing. If you have any special requirements when attending the hearing, please let us know.

What changes to Hutt City Council’s Control of Animals Bylaw are being proposed?

The bylaw currently contains rules about keeping animals such as goats, poultry and bees, and noise from animals (dogs have their own bylaw).  Council is seeking submissions on the following proposed changes:

Proposed amendment

What is in the current bylaw

Reasons for the proposed amendment

Mandatory microchipping of cats

No rules about the microchipping of cats

Key component in the management of cat populations and aids in reuniting lost pets with owners

Mandatory registration of microchipped cats on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register (NZCAR)

No rules about the registration of cats

Microchips that are not registered on the NZCAR will only be registered at the place of microchipping such as a vet clinic, making it much more difficult to locate the owner of a lost pet.

Mandatory desexing of cats

No rules about the desexing of cats

Desexing is an important component of population control and has welfare benefits for the desexed animal such as being less aggressive and less prone to urine and scent marking behaviour.

Updated Animal Control area map

Map was created in 2018

There have been new subdivisions created since 2018 that are not currently included in the Animal Control Area map.

Why are you proposing to change the bylaw?

The key reasons are to:

  • Contribute to the management of cat populations;
  • Reduce the negative impacts of cats on biodiversity;
  • Reduce the risk of disease transmission; and
  • Reduce nuisance and offensive behaviour.

How much will this cost cat owners?

The registration would be on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register which is $15 per microchip and is a national register that can be widely accessed, which will help reunite owners with lost cats. The registration can be done online by the cat owner.

Cat rescue organisations and the SPCA frequently run desexing campaigns at a reduced cost for cat owners.

What if I want to breed my cat?

Cats would be able to be kept for breeding purposes if registered with a nationally recognised cat breeders’ body, such as New Zealand Cat Fancy Ltd or Catz Inc.

What happens if I don’t get my cat microchipped?

Procedures for reporting a stray cat would remain unchanged. SPCA and cat rescue organisations will still be involved to try to reunite 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 you may have to pay a ‘reuniting fee’ through the SPCA before it’s returned. This fee covers the costs of looking after and possibly treating your cat.

Why should I get my cat desexed?

Hutt City Council and the SPCA support desexing of cats because it is an important component to population control and has welfare benefits for the desexed animal.

What should I do if I find a stray cat?

Get in touch with SPCA or other cat rescue organisation.

How many cats in Lower Hutt are currently microchipped? 

There are currently 19,388 cats registered on NZ Companion Animal Register with a Lower Hutt address.

Who have you consulted with so far?

To help develop the proposed amendments to the Bylaw, Council has sought feedback from the SPCA, local cat rescue organisations and with Hutt City Council’s Animal Control Team. Feedback received supports the proposal.

Are other councils doing this?

Several councils in New Zealand have similar bylaws regulating the keeping of cats. It should also be noted that in August this year the Government’s Environment Select Committee recommended to government that it mandate the registration and desexing of cats nationwide. The Government is due to respond to the recommendation by October 25.