Nature-friendly pets

Wellingtonians care about our native wildlife, and we are living in a city rich with it. Our pets, particularly dogs and cats, are significant threats to our biodiversity. Find out what you can do to make sure you are a responsible pet owner.

Collars and curfews for cats

Cats can hunt native wildlife – even well-fed cats. If you own a cat, here are some things you can do to reduce its impact on our native birds and lizards:

  • Contain your cat inside or in a safe enclosed area, away from sensitive wildlife
  • Cat curfew – keeping your cat indoors at night means great cuddles and reducing its chances of hunting
  • Monitored outdoor time
  • Anti-predator collars or attaching a bell to a quick release collar
  • Avoid feeding birds in your backyard

Use the Department of Conservation quiz to find out if your cat is conservation-friendly.

Make your cat conservation friendly – DOC

Find out how to love your cats while following our policies and restrictions.

Policies – Caring for cats

Dogs on-leash–reducing your paw print

Keeping your dogs on-leash protects your pups as well as our our native wildlife.

When a dog sees movement in a bush or on the beach, it most often sees prey. There is no way to stop an off-leash dog from harming our endangered native wildlife. In summer 2019 alone, six kiwis, two little blue penguins, a seal pup and 23 weka were attacked and killed by off-leash dogs.

Article: Dog owners urged to control pets after native animals killed – RNZ

Dogs running free in an area can also alter the natural patterns of wildlife. If native animals see dogs as a threat in their environment, it can change their breeding and feeding patterns, and sometimes force them to relocate.

Leashes protect dogs too

Popular walking trails and green spaces in Wellington are often areas of pest management. Walking your dogs on-leash keeps them safe from traps and bait stations tucked into the bush.

Dog owners are required to know the restrictions and regulations around pet ownership, including what areas are on-leash, and where you can exercise your dogs off-leash.

Dogs – Exercise areas

Other animals

Find out more about responsible animal ownership – from bees to livestock.

Policies – Animal factsheet