What We Do

Lonely Miaow & NZCAC

The Lonely Miaow Association started in 1990 to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome stray cats and kittens rescued in the Auckland region. We became incorporated in 1995 and have now rescued 8,500 stray cats and kittens from 2,500 colonies at a cost exceeding $1 million, with these numbers growing daily.
For many years we have been a member of the New Zealand Companion Animal Council Inc (NZCAC).  In 2002 the NZCAC formulated a policy on cats, including stray cats, and Lonely Miaow adheres to this policy.

Stray and/or Unowned Cats

Stray and/or unowned cats have many of their needs either directly, or indirected met by people:
  • Living in shelter provided by human habitation (i.e industrial, residential sites or farm sheds)
  • Acquiring food either by scavenging or through having it provided by carers who attend them or their colonies
Cat colonies and sole stray cats exist in all parts of greater Auckland with concentrations in Henderson, Glen Innes, Massey, Mt. Roskill, Te Atatu, Manurewa, and Onehunga. Most (80%) exist on residential properties with a further 10% being found on commercial properties. The Autumn 2012 edition of Animals’ Voice reports an estimated 200,000 stray cats in the Auckland region alone.

Trap, Assess, Resolve

Where stray/unowned cats are not managed, a controlled trapping programme should be commenced, taking care not to trap domestic/owned animals.
Trapped cats should be checked for evidence of identification and either returned to their owner or evaluated for rehoming, desexing and return, or humane euthanasia; whichever is the best option for the ongoing welfare of the cat.
Lonely Miaow operates a TAR policy (Trap, Assess, Resolve), which complies with the NZCAC policy above.  We respond to calls from the public about stray cat colonies and sole strays. Our rescue teams visit these colonies, and rescue all cats and kittens identified as stray.  We do not return a cat or kitten to a colony situation, if it is not the best option for the ongoing welfare of the cat.
However, where the support of the landowner/ tenant/ manager can be obtained and ongoing resources allow it, sole stray cats or cats in colonies may be desexed and returned to their colony under the responsibility of a recognized caregiver.

Our Processes

  • Report cat/s requiring rescue

    We receive contact from members of the public about a genuine stray cat or a colony of stray cats that is requiring rescue. Information is provided to us about:
    • Address of the cat/s requiring rescue
    • Contact details of contact person at property
    • Number of cats, their health, temperament and ages
    • Whether the member of the public is able to assist with rescue and trapping
  • Recording and logging information

    Our administration volunteers will record and log the call or email into our database. Information members of the public have passed onto us will be recorded into a list of “Colonies” that our cat rescue volunteers will have access to. When foster home space and cat rescue volunteers become available, they will be in touch with the people at the property in order to organise a day and time to trap and rescue. To keep a track of the calls, cats and kittens awaiting rescue and those fostered, we operate a comprehensive database. Each call, email, colony, and foster cat receives its own ID from the system, which is updated daily.


  • Rescue and trapping

    Our cat rescue volunteers contact a person at the colony or rescue site, and commence trapping and rescue of the cats and kittens. This can occur over a varying amount of time, up to weeks and months, dependent on a number of factors, including but not limited to number of cats, weather, and whether the cats are trap-shy.
  • Vet assessment

    Once rescued, each cat is taken to a Lonely Miaow-associated Vet, to be professionally assessed for health and temperament. Cats and kittens passing these health and temperament assessments (approximately 60% of those rescued from 2014 to 2015) move into a foster home ASAP, and adoption into a new forever home. Approximately 10% (2014 to 2015) are desexed and returned. All of our foster cats and kittens are vet checked, desexed, vaccinated, microchipped, defleaed and dewormed prior to adoption.