A kererū protection worker has wrote an open letter to the owner of a pregnant cat who was allegedly abandoned near a kererū sanctuary.
Nik Hurring, of Dunedin's Project Kererū, told Newshub she wrote the letter on Facebook out of "sheer frustration" after she saw the cat on a number of occasions approaching aviaries that homed injured birds.
She believed the small grey and white domestic cat had been abandoned in the area due to being pregnant.
"I attempted to catch her because if she was dumped as I suspect, she didn't deserve that - neither did the kittens she's pregnant with," she told Newshub.
Ms Hurring believed the cat had been starving for food and had no idea of how to hunt for survival.
"Free kittens are never ever free, no animal ever is," she wrote in the letter.
"If you take on the responsibility of a pet, it should be for the life of that animal.
"Taking them for a ride in the car when they can "jump out" and get "lost" is never a good idea, especially when they are not microchipped."
Ms Hurring only realised the cat wasn't feral when she noticed the cat trying to steal peanut butter from a possum trap.
"The wee feral cats that pop up from time to time are very secretive and do not usually show themselves in daylight.
There's no proof the cat was dumped but Ms Hurring noticed her behaviour was different to that of feral cats she had seen in the past.
"I would like to apologise for not catching her for you sooner than I did," she wrote.
"I just wanted to let you know there was no need to worry any longer, as your wee cat has been found and is safe."
In the letter Hurring said it was so obvious the cat was pregnant as her hips were sticking out. She also said it was not the young cat's first litter.
Ms Hurring pleaded with the owner not to dump animals just because they are pregnant and reminded the owner there are a number of agencies that can help in this situation.
The cat is now being cared for by Cat Rescue Dunedin and will be neutered after giving birth, then put up for adoption, Stuff reports.
Ms Hurring hopes her post will encourage others to take more responsibility of their animals.