(CMR) Cabinet has approved the issuance of drafting instructions for the creation of a cat pound and exemption order(s) per the Animals Act.
The Department of Agriculture is expected to open pounds in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac to help control the population of feral cats, which have proven detrimental to protected species across the islands,
Feral cats have been known to be a predator of species such as the brown boobies in Cayman Brac. According to the Department of Environment, in 2018, approximately 10% of the brown booby nesting population fell to cat predation. In 2022, it worsened, with only 13 of the 42 eggs identified during the season fledging successfully. Many of the eggs were observed to be broken or missing prior to hatching, and a large proportion of the young chicks disappeared, representing a staggering 70% loss. Local extinction is likely if this pressure is not reduced.
The Department of Environment and the Department of Agriculture coordinated an invasive species plan for feral cats in ecologically sensitive wilderness areas. Stage one is to register all companion cats in the target area, providing a microchip free of charge and taking any data on the cat and its owner.
Stage two is the widespread trapping of feral cats, primarily in ecologically sensitive areas and source populations that would quickly migrate. Traps are monitored regularly, replacing any triggered traps. Collected cats are kept in a safe area and checked for microchips. If the cat has a microchip, it is checked against the companion cat database and returned to the owner promptly.
The DoE explained that cats trapped in those areas without a microchip or whose microchip does not match the DoE registered database are considered abandoned and euthanized via injection by a veterinarian.