Durban cats win a lockdown court battle_1

A Durban NGO has gone to court to ensure the city’s feral cat community is not left out in the cold during the Covid-19 lockdown. The KwaZulu-Natal High Court, sitting in Durban, on Thursday declared the work of Cats of Durban – which cares for and feeds feral cat colonies in and around the city – an essential service. And it ordered that the NGO’s volunteers be allowed to leave their homes during the lockdown in order to carry out their duties. Cats of Durban secretary Niki Moore had raced to court at the eleventh hour after local police advised...
A Durban NGO has gone to court to ensure the city’s feral cat community is not left out in the cold during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The KwaZulu-Natal High Court, sitting in Durban, on Thursday declared the work of Cats of Durban – which cares for and feeds feral cat colonies in and around the city – an essential service. And it ordered that the NGO’s volunteers be allowed to leave their homes during the lockdown in order to carry out their duties.

Cats of Durban secretary Niki Moore had raced to court at the eleventh hour after local police advised her volunteers they could be arrested if they tried to continue with their work over this period.

“Where feral cats are not fed, they depend for their survival on preying on vermin, scrounging through rubbish bins and looking for scraps left by hotels, restaurants and the likes,” Moore had said in her court papers. “If they are not fed, they are driven closer and closer to places where they are not wanted, such as restaurants and hotels, and often they are subjected to cruel and inhumane methods of disposal”.

She said feral cats were “often killed by poisoning, beatings and even having chemicals and petrol thrown on them”.

Moore also said if she and her team were not allowed to continue with their work during the Covid-19 lockdown, that the feral cats they worked with would become vulnerable to injury or sickness.

“They will no longer be receiving food and they are likely to suffer slow starvation over that period,” she added. “Once feral cats are accustomed to being fed, to some extent they lose their instinct to find their own food and their ability to fend for themselves is compromised”.

Moore’s urgent application was not opposed by either the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma , or the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, both of whom were listed as respondents.

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