Claws out over proposed Southland cat ban

A cat ban in Southland will come under debate on Monday, in a bid to protect native birds in the area.

Many locals in the small town of Omaui are frustrated, saying that the proposal by Environment Southland has been well-hidden.

Predator Free NZ spokesperson Jessi Morgan says it's been proposed for a good reason.

"Cats are now proving to be the number one issue in those areas in terms of native species being able to return and thrive."

The ban will mean once a cat dies, the owner will not be allowed another one.

Cat abandonment is contributing to native birds being attacked, Environment Southland says. Ms Morgan says people think they are doing what's best - but they're wrong.

"People think that the cats they dump out there will have a better life than if they are euthanised at a vet clinic or rehomed somewhere else."

But RNZ reports more than three-quarters of locals signed a petition against the proposal, which was barely advertised - appearing on page 88 of its wider Regional Management Proposal.

Ms Morgan understands why some locals are angry at the proposal.

"Cats are obviously quite tricky because they're both a popular pet and a pest."