22 June 2021

Queanbeyan cats face lockdown as containment policy ends

| Hannah Sparks
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Cat sitting on kitchen table in house

Two new Queanbeyan suburbs will be required to keep their cats at home. Photo: Paul Hanaoka.

It would seem the ACT Government’s cat containment policy is setting a precedent across the NSW border, with Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council recently deciding to enforce the containment of all cats 24 hours a day in two new Queanbeyan suburbs.

The rollout of the new policy is staged: Googong West, Googong South and Googong East, and Jumping Creek Estate became cat containment areas on 28 May, while Googong Central and Googong North won’t join the new policy for another five years.

Council said this will allow residents already living in the developed areas of Googong time to adjust to the policy, while residents moving to the undeveloped areas of Googong and the unbuilt Jumping Creek Estate will be made aware of the policy beforehand.

Council will also apply the policy to all future subdivision certificates and is considering introducing it to other new greenfield developments in the area, such as those in Bungendore.

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Under the policy and following ACT protocol, residents in cat containment areas will be required to restrict cats to their home, create a purpose-built cat enclosure or erect cat-proof fencing.

Residents will be allowed to exercise their cats outside their property, but will need to keep them on a lead.

Council said it has experienced an increase in cat-related complaints following the growth of Googong and its proximity to the Googong Dam foreshore, bushland and rural properties.

These complaints include cats digging and defecating in private gardens; scratching vehicles; fighting at night, causing excess noise; hunting and killing wildlife; and contributing to nuisance dog barking.

Map of cat containment area in Googong

A map showing the rollout of the cat containment policy in Googong. Image: Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council.

It is hoped the new policy will protect fauna and wildlife close to Googong and reduce complaints to council.

However, not everyone agrees with the new policy, and a passionate councillor Pete Harrison, who voted against the policy, reminded the council that “cat lives matter”.

“As a faithful slave of one, dear 21-year-old cat, I feel very much obliged to speak in defence of cats,” he said.

“Could I suggest from the outset that cat lives matter and we won’t solve any problems by locking up all cats.”

Mr Harrison argued wildlife is threatened by feral cats, not pet cats.

However, councillor Brian Brown, who voted in favour of the policy, reminded Mr Harrison that no other pets run free.

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“We don’t let our horses run free and we keep our dogs on leashes,” he said.

Councillor Trudy Taylor, who also voted in favour of the policy, added that council isn’t saying it doesn’t want cats in Googong or Jumping Creek Estate.

“It’s just asking cat owners to be responsible in an effort to protect our wildlife,” she said.

Ms Taylor also told Region Media that many Googong residents were aware the area would become a cat containment area long before now.

Original Article published by Hannah Sparks on About Regional.

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For Pete Harrison,
You are incapable of thinking outside your own little world. We used to have cats here at our home. Several pairs.

I love cats, always have. I’ve had cats since I was a toddler.

Viz?

Lots of folks tell me that cats are selfish. In the last few years I’ve had several abdominal surgeries, usually combined. Cancer and hernia repairs. But, just three.

I’d be sent home with plenty of Oxycodone plus scripts for pain and told to rest lying down until I felt healed and able to get back into life, gardening and married life.

Each time while lying on our bed, Georgie (named by our boys after George Costanza) would turn up give his little short mew and then carefully jump up and lie on me, away from the sore areas. Dondi Trollop an adopted starved Calico would arrive and also find a good spot.

Far too late and during this same few years I was able to take on board, realised what effective predators of our native animals they were. We covered the tops of our fences with clear-plastic strips with moulded-in spikes. So our cats couldn’t get out.

But they still managed to kill visiting birds and lizards!

You need to get over it, and realise that cat containment is not bad for you OR your cat s. You may need to spend some more time with them. Buy some toys suitable for them AND interacting with them.

LBNL, work a bit harder on widening your affections to our native animals, particularly the small vulnerable cat-predatable ones.

You know? The ones that didn’t evolve with cats around them?

Put simply, grow up, and widen up!

Cat containment is long overdue, but we should also be trapping and hunting the ferals already out there.

If you have fences with a flat top-section, there are clear plastic strips with spikes that will keep your cats in the yard, and other cats out.

The only wild-life still vulnerable to you cats will be visiting birds, the occasional reptile, and very small mammals.

Our spikes are very effective and though we gave up cats a year or three back, the spikes are all mostly still in place. And the existing local cats have given up.

Feral cats do continue to be an issue, yes. They are difficult to trap and difficult if not dnagerous to remove from a trap,so poke a barrel in and shoot them.

As an ex-hunter of our feral animals I can assure all readers that feral cats are seriously dangerous animals. And, very good hunters of our native animals.

They are NOT afraid of you. Keep away!

As a child I lived in the country and a wild cat moved in under the house (paddocks over the fence). She had kittens, or spitfires they could have been called. What child though can resist a kitten! I would lie in wait and grab them as they came out from under the house. They were tiny kittens, but I would wear long leather gauntlets to handle them, or I would have been shredded.

Maya 123. Thanks.

Some folks can get it.

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