The article here highlights the many benefits of keeping your pet cat confined. As the author states
“Cats have contributed to the extinction of dozens of Australia’s native mammals and birds, and are listed as a key threat to many currently endangered animals. Due to these devastating effects, there have been calls for pet cats to be permanently confined to their owner’s property. Cat owners might be surprised to find that their smooch puss is a highly effective killer: according to research in Canberra that followed cats for 12 months, 70 per cent of cats were bringing home prey monthly, and 6 per cent of cats were bringing home prey weekly. And that’s only the prey they decided to share!”
So if you have a pet cat have a look at these great suggestions.
Responses from many (22 of 28) cat owners on Bruny Island confirmed the current approach in supporting owners to desex, microchip and contain their beloved moggies. Interestingly, the bulk of owners were already doing at least some of these things, but 4 households said they would not contain their animals.
These results align closely with research conducted elsewhere showing cat owners are critical to success in reducing the impact of cats on wildlife and that they need costs of participation reduced, and plenty of support to help them make the changes for their cats. The full report is available here and makes interesting reading.
Of the 22 households surveyed, 19 own 1 or 2 cats, one has three cats and two households had more than 3 cats. These 2 households reported that this was due to having undesexed cats and to their feeding of strays.
Despite most households have desexed (96%) and microchipped (86% ) cats , about a quarter of all cats were not desexed or microchipped due to the large number of cats in one household.
Providing financial subsidies was identified most frequently by respondents to encourage desexing and micro-chipping. This was followed by offering these services on the island.
Key recommendations arising from the survey were to:
continue individual one-on-one cat owner engagement to identify and address individual barriers and motivators;
enhance the established programs particularly to build cat owner capability and motivation, specifically:
1. extend the advisory and design/building assistance to all individual households (with cats) requiring assistance.
2. develop and distribute a cat containment guide. The guide will include containment options; environmental enrichment for a cat’s physical and emotional needs; addressing stressors in individual cats; and training principles to support transition.
3. document and photograph new cat containment stories (& where appropriate video).
4. print and distribute (to individual households on Bruny) additional stickers (developed by students on Bruny).
5. purchase 4 GPS cat trackers for use with the program.
continue to promote the By-law engagement program so that ideally all Bruny cat owners are engaged. Door-knock Bruny households (over summer) to discuss the By-laws and broader cat management on the island and ultimately engage more cat owners. Consideration will then be given to undertake a mail-out to all Bruny households and rate payers.
Over the past decade, we have each year scouted the beaches for Hooded plovers and put up temporary fences and signage to help protect nesting sites and educate people about the habitat they share with beach nesting birds, who live on the same stretch of beach, year-in, year-out.