Registration, microchipping, limiting numbers per household and desexing of cats is being pushed for by the Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group in North Canterbury.
“We do this on behalf of all river inhabitants, particularly braided river birds, and to prevent continuing cruelty to cats which are often abandoned to lead a precarious existence in the wild,” the group said in a letter presented to the Mayor of Waimakariri District Council, Dan Gordon.
Cats were the second worst predator of endangered braided river birds on the river, Norway rats being the worst, the group added.
Operations Manager Grant Davey gave Mr Gordon photographic evidence of cats at nests and traps, some cats had swum across the river.
During a recent trial on baits for traps over three months there were 79 visits of cats, the most of any predator. The traps were not for cats.
Controls would add a layer of protection for endangered birds giving the various species a chance to breed successfully, and the number of unwanted litters would reduce, the group said.
A committee member said: “Bylaws to control cats will, in the long term, lead to fewer cats being dumped and breeding in the wild.
“We know from experience in Canterbury that feral cat populations are huge, and not easily controlled. The cat control bylaws are urgently required.”
The group urged Mr Gordon to go further than the Selwyn District Council bylaw which requires registration and microchipping of cats.