Feral cats and possums

​​​​​​​What can I do about them?

We recommend trapping these pests humanely, using approved traps only - see 'what types of traps can I use?' below. 

Our Animal Education and Control team hires out cat traps which can be used to catch feral cats and possums. A bond is required when you hire a trap - it must be paid for in cash or by cheque. We'll refund your bond once you return the trap to us in the same condition as when you hired it.

See our fees and charges list for details and call us on 07 838 6664 (available seven days a week from 12.30pm to 4.30pm) to discuss what you need - or check out our full contact information here.

There are other types of approved traps that can be used and some kinds of traps which you can't use. See below for details.

You might also like to out the Waikato Regional Council's biodiversity information online​, including factsheets and advice about dealing with other animal pests, as well as feral cats and possums.

​Disposal after trapping

It is illegal to release live possums/feral cats in New Zealand: all live captured animal pests must be killed humanely. We offer free disposal of live feral cats and possums caught using our Council's traps. Get in touch with us beforehand if you can, to let us know that you are coming in to return the cage and whether or not you need this service upon its return.

Note that if the cat or possum you have trapped is already dead when you return to the cage, it is your responsibility to dispose of it before returning the cleaned cage to us. If you are using your own Timms kill trap (see below) instead of one of our cages, it is your responsibility to dispose of any animals caught in these traps also.​

What types of trap can I use?

No leg hold or gin traps

The Animal Welfare Act 1999​'s regulations prohibit the use of leg-hold traps (such as gin traps) in residential areas and within 150 metres of dwellings or places where there are likely to be pets. However it is preferable that these traps are not used in any situation as they are not humane. Please check out the other trapping options noted below.​

Reporting leg hold or gin traps in prohibited areas

If you have any concerns relating to the trapping of animals please contact the Waikato SPCA​ or your local SPCA​.

Other traps

The Animal Welfare Act does allow for the use of traps such as live catch (cage traps) and Timms kill traps. These traps are available as another option in Hamilton for the control of possums and feral cats. As mentioned above, cage traps are available for hire from our team, while Timms traps (for possums only) can be purchased at most rural supplies stores​. Give us a call on 07 838 6664​ or email us if you need more advice re the information below.

Cage traps ​

Live catch cage traps (like the ones we hire out) are most suitable where there is a higher risk of catching pets. For best results set traps near possum-damaged plants or beside possum runs as follows:
  • Place the trap on firm ground and check that the door closes properly when triggered.
  • Make sure the trap faces the direction possums are most likely to approach from.
  • Ensure the trap is placed so that a possum can't climb down on top of it, triggering the door to close too early.
  • Attach bait to the trigger arm of the trap. Use apple, kiwifruit, orange or carrot.
  • Set the trap by lifting the door and holding it open with the trip pin. Insert the trip pin only far enough to prevent a light wind from releasing the door.

Timms traps for possums

Kill traps such as the Timms Trap are typically lightweight and easy to set. They can effectively control possums in small to moderate sized areas, such as urban gar​dens an​d gullies. However pets can still get caught in Timms traps, so make sure that when using Timms traps you:

  • keep fingers clear of the front opening at all times
  • set traps in the evening and bait with a piece of fruit, such as quarter of a fresh apple or orange, or pieces of carrot. Don't use meat or fish as bait as it will attract cats to the trap
  • keep family pets indoors while the trap is set and inform neighbours where traps are set so they can do the same
  • release the set trap early morning - regular checking is essential to minimise distress to the trapped animal
  • do not leave set traps in areas where inquisitive children and pets can access to them
  • replace bait every two days.

Rat and mice traps

There are no restrictions regarding the use of traps designed for the control of mice and rats but it is the landowner's responsibility to deal with the problem. ​

Page reviewed: 17 Aug 2016 9:57am