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Committed to keeping cats contained

PICTURE: A leash to control a cat is no different to using a leash for a dog. 

More councils committed to keeping cats contained 
Some people say that using a leash to control a cat is ‘barbaric’.

WHEN the science tells us about the harm to wildlife caused by roaming domestic cats, the denialists come out of the woodwork to make their voices heard. 

Daniel Keane, in: Cat control measures in Adelaide’s Campbelltown City Council won’t include mandatory leashes, mayor says, (ABC Radio Adelaide  / Thursday 4 August 2022), reports Mayor Whittaker as saying: ” …a survey of residents showed overwhelming support for greater cat controls.”

“We’ve got many more houses, we have got many more people who are not wanting cats to come onto their property,” she said. “They want to be able to grow vegetables safely without catching the sorts of diseases that come from neighbouring cats.”
Ms Whittaker said the measure was intended to protect native wildlife and stop roaming cats from being hit by cars. “If they’re outside the property, they need to be controlled so they need to be in a cage or held or in a car.

“Some people will use a leash because they do already.”


To comply is to be as bad as the law allows*
Why not go beyond compliance with human law to comply with the law of decency to native wildlife, by keeping cats contained at all times: 24/7?

IN: Cat containment rules lead to boom in demand for outdoor pet enclosures, Kerrin Thomas, (ABC Gippsland, 10 October 2022) reports that: ‘Enclosures are a way to keep pet cats contained while still letting them have time outside, and a business providing the enclosures says demand for their work is booming.’

Containment orders: For some cat owners the enclosures are a way to comply with council requirements to keep cats contained to their property at all times.

The Bass Coast Council, south-east of Melbourne, is one of the latest to adopt such rules, with the policy to take effect from July next year. Before then, the council is working on ways to support people who need help setting up enclosures.

Gavin Stroud from Catyards for Backyards on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula made his first enclosure about 18 months ago and has been busy ever since.

“We love enclosures from the point of view that it keeps the cat safe and it keeps local wildlife safe … they’re not out killing the native wildlife,” he said.

“We’ve lost cats from car accidents and it’s just horrific getting that phone call at 2am to make a decision as to whether you’re going to spend thousands on surgery on your cat or not.” 

With 70 per cent of cat lovers not self-regulating, it is essential that NSW goes the way of other jurisdictions that will see cat containment made mandatory. It can’t come quickly enough for MHCS, knowing that domestic cats are entering Munibung Hill and predating on native animals at all hours of the day and night. This 70 per cent of cat owners are in denial if they think their cat – a hunting, introduced species – does no harm while out roaming in the neighbourhood or nearby bushland. 

*The NSW Companion Animals Act does not make it mandatory to keep cats contained on the owner’s property as it does for dogs. Cats are allowed to roam, with only an advisory notation that it is best to keep them indoors at night to help protect native animals. MHCS does not agree with this exemption for cats. To comply with the law, is to place wildlife in harms way with thousands of roaming domestic cats on the loose every day and night. The reason? Because 70 per cent of cat owners don’t accept that THEIR cat is a born hunter and killer of native animals, and won’t, unless required by the laws of the state, do anything about keeping them contained to their properties.

MMM … Issue 35, December 22 – January 2023