CLAWS OUT: With domestic cats taking a toll on our wildlife Is it time for a cat curfew?
CLAWS OUT: With domestic cats taking a toll on our wildlife Is it time for a cat curfew? Contributed

'Wildlife too fragile to survive these masterful hunters'

THERE was no pussy-footing around in your responses when we asked if domestic cats should be subject to a curfew to save our local wildlife.

More than 600 responded, sharing or commenting on our our post and the answer came back a resounding yes in favour of a cat curfew.

Brett Vercoe wrote: "Cat owners should be very grateful they are even able to keep these devastating predators. The least they can do is stop them preying on wildlife."

Some like Nadine Wallace pointed the finger at owners saying, "We're not allowed to let our dogs roam around outside of our properties or killing randomly...they would be seized and possibly euthanased. Why should pet cats be any different. Be responsible or don't have them.

Most made the same heartfelt point as Gyan Evans who said, " Yes please...the wildlife is too fragile to survive these masterful hunters."

Should there be a curfew for cats?

This poll ended on 13 September 2019.

Current Results

Yes

85%

No

14%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Not all domestic cats kill wildlife but here on the north coast nestled in between the coast and the hinterland domestic cats can wreak havoc.

The new book, Cats in Australia: Companion and Killer, published by the CSIRO, spells out the damage done by our feline friends.

The book reveals feral cats slaughter an alarming 740 animals per year while domestic cats kill about 75 animals annually.

The cold hard fact is that cats in Australia kill more than 3 million mammals, 2 million reptiles and 1 million birds every day and have been responsible for around 20 of our mammal extinctions over the last 200 years.

Mount Barker Council in South Australia has just announced it will be cracking down by passing laws restricting the number of cats allowed per property and enforcing an 8pm - 7am curfew on cats.

We spoke to one local vet agreed to speak to us on the condition of anonymity, such is the passion aroused by questions of cat curfews, who gave us tips on being a responsible cat owner.

"If you intend keeping your cat indoors its best to do that from a very early age, so they are used to it" the vet said.

"Aside from protecting wildlife, it keeps the cats safe. We get a huge number of cats hit by cars, bitten by snakes and attacked by dogs and it can be very expensive for owners.

"Cats are also more territorial than dogs so it is best to keep just one cat indoors, as there will always be one pining to get out and find their own territory.

The vet recommended plenty of stimulation for indoor cats such as toys and for owners to play with their cats.

"Aside from a large enclosed outdoor run owners could rig up an enclosed cage on a window or even a platform near a window so the cats can see outside.

The vet also said there was no evidence that feeding your cat large amounts of red meat would stop them hunting, nor would de-sexing.

Here in Byron Shire the council's Pest Animal Management plan for dealing with feral cats includes a number of techniques being trialled to control feral cat numbers

But the plan recognises that domestic cats often stray over to the dark side to kill the same way feral cats do noting "there is an absence of strong measures to prevent recruitment (to the feral cat population) from the pet and stray population."

Domestic cats instead are subject to the Companion Animals Act that states a cat must have identification that enables a local authority to ascertain the name of the cat and the address or telephone number of the owner.



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