Caring for Cats

Hutt City Council has introduced “chipping and snipping” rules for domestic cats, effective from 28 March 2024.

The Control of Animals Bylaw now includes a section on the Keeping of Cats, which states:

Every person who keeps cats must ensure that cats of 12 weeks of age or older are:

  • Microchipped;
  • Registered on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register (NZCAR); and
  • Desexed (unless kept for breeding purposes and registered with a nationally recognised cat breeders' body; or deferred if a registered veterinarian has determined it would negatively impact the cat’s health and welfare)

These changes will help to reduce feral cat populations, reduce harm to wildlife, reduce disease transmission and make it easier to reunite lost cats with their people. Desexing also has welfare benefits for the desexed animal such as being less aggressive and less prone to urine and scent marking behaviour.

Read the Control of Animals Bylaw

Frequently Asked Questions

Your nearest vet clinic or the SPCA can scan your cat to check for a microchip and let you know the number so you can register or update your contact details at Details can also be looked up if you know where the cat was adopted from or the original adopter’s name or phone number. If your cat was adopted from a rescue centre, they should also have the details on file. By registering the microchip, you can be far more confident of a happy reunion if your cat is ever lost.

Registration is required 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.

You can get your cat microchipped at your local vet. Cat rescue organisations and the SPCA frequently run microchipping and desexing campaigns at a reduced cost for cat owners. But registration on the NZCAR is still required as it is not automatic when microchipping your cat.

SPCA and cat rescue organisations will still try to reunite cats with owners, but NZCAR 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 if it is sick or injured.

If you lose your cat, you can search or create a free listing here.

If you are concerned about a kitten, pregnant queen, senior cat, or a sick or injured cat, SPCA can assist you immediately with these animals.

If you are concerned about a healthy adult stray cat, SPCA can help you work out what to do. They first ask people to determine whether the cat is someone’s companion cat, as most cats are able to roam from home. You can take the cat to a veterinarian or SPCA to have it scanned for a microchip and check the NZ Companion Animal Registry to see if the cat’s owner can be found.

SPCA does not regularly take in healthy adult stray cats, especially if they are not socialised to people. They need to maintain capacity to care for the cats vulnerable to welfare harms, and the centre environment can be stressful for animals, especially if they are not socialised to people.

  • Before the age of eight weeks, kittens are best suited to stay with their mum (if she is social with people). However, if the kitten is abandoned, sick, or injured, then contact SPCA for immediate assistance. If the kitten is at least eight weeks old, then SPCA can assist you in becoming a foster parent, adoptee, or provide additional support. If the mother cat is not social with humans, then the kittens can be separated for fostering as early as six weeks. By this age they are nearly or fully weaned, and it is important to start the socialisation process as soon as possible so the kittens are suitable for adoption.
  • For young kittens that are not sick or injured or are not in immediate harm’s way, it is best to see if their mother is still around. Often, the mother is away looking for food and will return. You may need to observe from a distance, and if the mother cat does not return after a few hours, then these kittens will need help.

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

Sightings in a Key Native Ecosystem area or rural property should be reported directly to Greater Wellington Regional Council on 0800 496 734 or email info@gw.govt.nzIf a cat is injured or vulnerable (eg. Due to age or pregnancy), contact SPCA for assistance.

In 2023 there were 19,388 cats registered on NZ Companion Animal Register with a Lower Hutt address.

Council surveyed Lower Hutt residents in 2019, and sought feedback from the SPCA, local cat rescue organisations and Council’s Animal Control Team. The feedback was supportive, as were most public submissions on the bylaw when it was proposed in late 2023.

Several councils in New Zealand have similar bylaws regulating the keeping of cats, including Wellington City Council.

Not currently, but Hutt City Council may consider a limit in a future review of the bylaw.

Useful links

SPCA assistance for snipping and chipping

New Zealand Companion Animals Register

Microchipping information

Keeping your cat happy at home

Local cat rescue organisations:

Kitten Inn


SPCA (Wellington)

Wainui Whiskers

Rachel’s Kitty Cat Rescue