Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Opinion

Expert strata, facilities & building management services

Feral cats in Canberra. What to do?

By gentoopenguin 5 July 2012 39

I live in a complex not that far from a nature reserve. Earlier this year, kittens start to show up in the complex grounds that clearly don’t belong to anyone. They live under cars, in the common gardens and around the skips. Now those kittens have turned into cats and they like to fight/breed with each other at night and (one can only presume) eat the local birdlife and wildlife given the proximity to the nature reserve.

I previously contacted the RSPCA for advice and was told to hire a cage and catch the cats individually then bring them down to their Weston shelter.  Given there are at least three groups of different cats that I’ve seen, that’s a lot of catching!  I’m no expert on cats but I imagine it’s not that easy to catch them and they would learn quickly how the trap works. Plus the idea of an untrained person catching feral cats carrying god knows what disease doesn’t seem very sensible to me.

So today I rang TAMS  and they also suggested the trap hire from the RSCPA and putting up signs to tell neighbours not to feed the cats so they will “hopefully move on elsewhere”. I will put up a sign but the other suggestion of moving the problem on seems strange. You would assume the aim should be to protect local birdlife and wildlife. I also thought TAMS might have a more coordinated approach to feral animals in the ACT than hoping for well-minded but untrained Joe Citizens to be a ferry service to the RSPCA.

Since TAMS and RSPCA don’t seem able/willing/funded to undertake coordinated action, are there any legal privately funded alternatives?

What’s Your opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
39 Responses to
Feral cats in Canberra. What to do?
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
Antagonist 6:37 pm 11 Jul 12

If Domestic Animal Services refuse to deal with cats, perhaps they should have a name that better reflects the services they actually do provide: dog pound.

Parkway Parker 5:35 pm 11 Jul 12

Be easiest if the ACT government responded when we ring to report litters of feral kittens, then catch and dispose of them then.

Did anyone hear the RSPCA interview? I’d be interested to know what they said.

Sandman 10:24 pm 07 Jul 12

LSWCHP said :

so I tended to use the 7×57 on cats. The result was always a small crater in the ground surrounded by tiny bits of fluff.

Not really feasible in the burbs, unfortunately.

Which is why Smith and Wesson gave us the .22 long.

Captain RAAF 8:54 pm 07 Jul 12

p1 said :

Pandy said :

Anything badder?

Convince them to eat some sodium and then give them a drink?

Why isn’t Capt RAAF involved in this thread?

Someone call me?

Cat trap, catch cat, place trap (with cat) in 44 gallon drum filled with water, cat dead.

Don’t waste your time trying to drop the little bastards off at the RSPCA as their damn 24 hour drop offs are either full or locked!

Same method works with domestic cats that you catch in your yard.

Recusant 6:22 pm 07 Jul 12

Recusant said :

I personally don’t care if the cat is feral or not. If it’s in my yard, it’s fair game.

What is a fair response if a cat, pet or not, kills one of my pets?

What suggestions does anyone have in relation to cat control when neither the RSPCA nor the gov’t will deal with the problem. If it were a dog wandering around killing my pets it’d be taken care of with either a huge fine or kind termination. Cat’s, for some reason, get special treatment, despite being in the same list as foxes when it comes to pets.

Recusant 6:20 pm 07 Jul 12

I personally don’t care if the cat is feral or not. If it’s in my yard, it’s fair game.

What is a fair response if a cat, pet or not, kills one of my pets?

LSWCHP 10:20 pm 06 Jul 12

Pandy said :

Buy several lamb hearts. Dice. Keep blood. Mix blood well with RatSak and pour the mixture over the hearts. Place din dins over by the skip. Repeat for a week. Voila!!

No! No! No! That is bad, very bad.

Anything badder?

Well, I did a fair bit of feral animal control in rural areas when I was a youngster. I always thought it was better to have too much gun rather than too little, so I tended to use the 7×57 on cats. The result was always a small crater in the ground surrounded by tiny bits of fluff.

Not really feasible in the burbs, unfortunately.

LSWCHP 10:11 pm 06 Jul 12

andym said :

Do While cats > 0
Lake.Toss = cats + bag + rock
Call cats.find
End Do

Now that definitely isn’t one of the C derived languages.

Woody Mann-Caruso 6:20 pm 06 Jul 12

Sounds great. Release the cats so they can continue to hunt Australian wildlife.

Yay, natural selection! I look forward to a stronger Australia filled with better wildlife.

Thumper 5:49 pm 06 Jul 12

Pandy said :

Thumper said :

Pandy said :

Buy several lamb hearts. Dice. Keep blood. Mix blood well with RatSak and pour the mixture over the hearts. Place din dins over by the skip. Repeat for a week. Voila!!

No! No! No! That is bad, very bad.

Anything badder?

Great, so kookaburras, currawongs and magpies that will eat this as well will die a horrific death.

Are you advocating theat they die? shame!

But is I got this wrong, one could supervise din dins and shoo away pesky birds.

Trap the cats.

Pandy 4:33 pm 06 Jul 12

Thumper said :

Pandy said :

Buy several lamb hearts. Dice. Keep blood. Mix blood well with RatSak and pour the mixture over the hearts. Place din dins over by the skip. Repeat for a week. Voila!!

No! No! No! That is bad, very bad.

Anything badder?

Great, so kookaburras, currawongs and magpies that will eat this as well will die a horrific death.

Are you advocating theat they die? shame!

But is I got this wrong, one could supervise din dins and shoo away pesky birds.

Antagonist 3:59 pm 06 Jul 12

cantdance said :

What does everyone think feral cats ate before humans came along? It’s called the food chain. If you’re going to try to stop feral cats from eating birds and other wildlife then I suggest you stop humans from eating meat.

A valid point since the domestic cat is a native animal, established in the Australian ecosystem well before the white man settled in 1788. In fact, I’m pretty sure Capt. James Cook wrote about seeing many domestic cats alongside their indigenous masters when he was mapping the east coast of Australia in 1770.

Thumper 3:08 pm 06 Jul 12

So lets just put things into perspective before quoting some unsubstanciated assertions of “horrific and prolonged” deaths

Okay, let’s really put things into perspective.

Who in their right mind would put poisoned baits out in the street?

Disinformation 2:57 pm 06 Jul 12

Thumper said :

Great, so kookaburras, currawongs and magpies that will eat this as well will die a horrific death.

Not to mention that the cats will die an equally horrific and prolonged death from internal bleeding.

Poisons work in various ways. Anything that incites the stomach lining to bleed, like most commercial rat and mouse poisons will likely have no sensation at all to the animal involved. Most humans don’t know that they have stomach cancer until something secondary occurs because of the lack of pain nerves in the stomach lining.

Internal bleeding, as far as I’m concerned is probably one of the most peaceful ways to die.

So lets just put things into perspective before quoting some unsubstanciated assertions of “horrific and prolonged” deaths.

Plenty of people have been able to talk calmly while they unknowingly bled to death.

As for the effects of rat poison on birds, one of my fathers friends was seriously into breeding various types of birds. His son didn’t shut a door on one of the cages and all the fowl, pheasants and doves gained access to the “airlock” in which just happened to be an opened industrial box of either ratsac or rentokil. In the 24 hours it took to discover that the birds were in the airlock, the birds had decided that they preferred the rat poison to their normal food and ate the lot.
Nobody realised that this had happened until about two weeks later.
Not one bird had given the slightest sign that it was inconvenienced in any way by the rat poison.
This news was met with incredularity by the local bird keeping community, so one guy who was trapping sparrows decided to feed them some rat poison as well. It did nothing to them.

So possibly rat poison is effective on the physiology of rats and not so much on birds.
I still wouldn’t try poisoning feral birds with rat poison though.

DUG 1:56 pm 06 Jul 12

Or perhaps feral cats are eating rats and mice? I would have thought that a healthy adult bird would be capable of escaping a cat, and if not, then there are a host of other reasons in which it may meet an unfortunate end.

Anecdotally, I see neighbourhood cats stalking birds all the time in my local area (seriously people – keep your cats indoors) but I have never witnessed a cat catch a bird, nor seen any evidence of a deceased bird. I have however seen plenty of vulnerable birds being pecked to death by crows, attacked by dogs, and flattened on the road.

Feral cats are easy to blame, but I suspect no one actually knows for sure what they feed on. They are likely to be opportunistic feeders.

Humans are by far the greatest threat to native wildlife.

Hmmm, you opened a can of worms here!
I too have spent many nights woken by fighting cats, I too live close to a nature reserve and I too notice less native birds in my area. Though I don’t see many feral cats in my street, just pets of convenience, I don’t really understand because I would think you would want to enjoy your pets company as much as possible, or why else have one?

Threepaws, Just look at Norfolk Island for an example, the nice folks there introduced cats in an attempt to control the Polynesian rat problem and to an extent that worked! But now they have a feral cat problem. And yeah most of the bird life there is extremely endangered, much already were listed as extinct, one of the breeds only has one breeding couple remaining. It is so bad that they have to lock much of the surviving birdlife in massive enclosures. Pretty odd for an island 34.6 km². They also serve an excellent example of how destructive rabbits can be (Philip Island).

I also recall an epidemic that was reported on TV over 15 years ago (I don’t know the details), I think it was in the Dubo area that they called in the army to shoot them, I remember seeing footage of solders armed with Steyr AUG’s and night vision, they showed a number of trees that had an estimated 100 cats, you could see the eyes reflecting the light. The report at the time indicated that over 10 species of Australian birdlife had been extinct by a direct result of feral cats.

Honestly, I love this country and I would like generations to come to enjoy seeing our wildlife and although there are many causes for its decline, I would put feral Cats close to the top, honestly Cats kill for enjoyment / sport not just food and that is where part of the problem is. Cats in Canberra should all be desexed and not free to roam the streets.
Ah but cats, dogs rabbits foxes etc. Are not the real problem. Bogans are! They require authorities to intervene and enforce laws that will help resolve the issue. Shame that no one has any backbone.

Sorry Cat lovers I’m a dog person and I think you guys are just straight up weird!

sarahsarah 1:48 pm 06 Jul 12

It’s a frustrating problem – the drain cats in Woden are sharing a similar fate. I wouldn’t call those cats feral as such – they are pretty friendly. I park in adjacent car park and I regularly see one of the people who feeds them patting and brushing their fur but they are indeed homeless. RSPCA isn’t funded/aren’t able to come and catch them and TAMS wash their hands of the problem and say it’s up to the RSPCA.

I personally find suggestions of setting traps for those cats unhelpful – it’s a public thoroughfare and I would hate to be responsible for the death of one of them due to the cruelty of others. I have seen a man allowing his dog to chase them, which I yelled at him for. He very quickly called the dog and went back the other way. One of the ladies I work with feeds them and has told of the cyclist who often rides past and heckles her, yelling at her to poison them. Her logic is that if the cats are eating her food they are less likely to go hunting for birds. Whether or not that works I can’t say but I can see how that logic works for her.

IMHO people that threaten them (or other “feral” animals) are just vile. The cats are just being cats. It’s in their nature to hunt and survive. Pretty sure they didn’t ask to be dumped there. I agree they need to be caught and euthanized if they can’t be rehomed but there is no need to cause them pain and suffering if it can be avoided. If you can catch them with minimum fuss to all parties involved, go for it. Possum traps are pretty robust – if a possum can’t get through them I doubt the cats could.

As for the birds – well, my two cats live inside but they do have access to a cat run that runs up the side of our house. They have been known to catch the frogs (and crickets!) that jump in the run and bring them inside, still alive and wriggling. Presumably to teach me how to hunt. I keep the cats from away from the wildlife but if the wildlife wants to jump in with the cats I can’t really help that!

Thumper 1:24 pm 06 Jul 12

Holden Caulfield said :

Thumper said :

Jindy said :

Thumper said :

Pandy said :

Buy several lamb hearts. Dice. Keep blood. Mix blood well with RatSak and pour the mixture over the hearts. Place din dins over by the skip. Repeat for a week. Voila!!

No! No! No! That is bad, very bad.

Anything badder?

Not to mention that the cats will die an equally horrific and prolonged death from internal bleeding.

Poisoning is acceptable for rats, mice, dogs and pigs, ignoring the law for a moment, is there a sliding scale for acceptable poisoning based on fluffiness?

I note that you completely ignored half of my post.

And I also note the serious lack of feral pigs and wild dogs in suburbia.

Kambah and Charnwood excepted?

Touche 🙂

Katietonia 1:06 pm 06 Jul 12

Send them to live in the drains at Woden, it’s like the Hilton of feral cats with 12 feedings a day.

Holden Caulfield 1:04 pm 06 Jul 12

Thumper said :

Jindy said :

Thumper said :

Pandy said :

Buy several lamb hearts. Dice. Keep blood. Mix blood well with RatSak and pour the mixture over the hearts. Place din dins over by the skip. Repeat for a week. Voila!!

No! No! No! That is bad, very bad.

Anything badder?

Not to mention that the cats will die an equally horrific and prolonged death from internal bleeding.

Poisoning is acceptable for rats, mice, dogs and pigs, ignoring the law for a moment, is there a sliding scale for acceptable poisoning based on fluffiness?

I note that you completely ignored half of my post.

And I also note the serious lack of feral pigs and wild dogs in suburbia.

Kambah and Charnwood excepted?

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site