Dr Jane Newman is a geologist who lives in Somerfield, Christchurch. Since the beginning of 2013, Jane has invested tens of thousands of dollars of her own money into cages, camera equipment, food, testing, neutering and spaying, to help the cats in the red zone.
Jane’s project has been facilitated by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA: access permissions), SPCA Canterbury (information on funding sources and liaison with other groups, accepting confident young cats for rehoming), Cats Protection League (urgently wait-listing tame homeless cats in the path of the demolitions) and Massey University (advice and testing). McMaster & Heap have provided considerable support as the main supplier of veterinary services. Some wonderful members of the public have helped with donations, and by fostering and finding ‘forever homes’ for cats and kittens, reporting cat sightings, and stocking feeding stations. The New Zealand Companion Animal Trust has been an important source of funds for health testing and other veterinary services.
The residential red zone is located in eastern Christchurch, from the CBD to Bexley. There are plans to accelerate demolition in the zone to clear suburbs on the flat land by the end of 2014. It is likely to remain deserted for a few years following the demolition programme, until longer-term decisions are made.
In the meantime, more and more kittens are being born and raised without human contact, making homing them more complex. The SPCA and Cats Protection League cannot house feral cats who have not been socialised with humans. Unique features of redzonecats are the successful taming of feral cats, so that they can be rehomed, and the use of surveillance for selective trapping of breeding females that do not show themselves when people are about.
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