Community concern grows as gin trap kills beloved family cat

by Kim Bowden - May 14, 2024

A family in Cromwell is burying their feline companion Bluey today after it suffered significant injuries over the weekend after becoming caught in a gin trap.

The incident is prompting James Dicey to issue a warning to other cat owners, and a plea to people taking pest control into their own hands.

He says his children are hugely saddened by the loss of their pet, and are struggling to understand how anyone could set a trap like the one used here.

"They can't figure out why someone would do this, using a trapping method that has caused this amount of harm."

Twelve-year-old Bluey was found on Saturday near Bannockburn "in a lot of distress and in a lot of pain", Mr Dicey says.

"We had to make a really tough decision."

On Monday, Bluey was put down by a local vet, who said the cat was one of three to recently lose their lives to such traps.

Gin traps have metal jaws designed to catch and hold an animal by a limb - usually a leg or foot.

In New Zealand the Animal Welfare Act restricts the sale and use of the traps and requires any in use to be checked daily.

Rumours are rife in other neighbourhoods in and around Cromwell - both rural and urban - of cats becoming victims of gin traps.

Some residents spoken to today by Crux say the rumours have persisted for years, and they're putting cat owners on edge, especially those who are reporting their feline mates missing.

While Mr Dicey acknowledges domestic cats, including his own late Bluey, do wander and, especially when unneutered, can be a pest, threatening native birds and other small animals, he thinks there's no case for the use of gin traps.

"At best it is highly irresponsible, at worst, there's someone with an agenda against cats."

He says to catch ferrets and stoats, for example, there are alternative traps that are more likely to be cat-proof.

"And they're much more humane."

His advice for fellow cat owners: "People need to be careful with their cats, and where they are, and keep an eye on them."

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