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RSPCA throws support behind ACT Government’s cat containment plan

Lachlan Roberts 25 June 2019 54

Community consultation on the proposed ACT Cat Plan closes on 30 June. Photo: Glynis Quinlan.

RSPCA ACT said it supports the ACT Government’s cat containment plan if it is implemented properly, as community consultation on the proposed ACT Cat Plan closes this week.

The consultation, which runs until 30 June, is asking Canberrans about whether they support annual cat registration as well as whether they would like to see more cat containment rolled out across the ACT, as the government outlines its plans to make the whole of the ACT a cat containment area by 2025.

More than 2,700 people and organisations have already given their feedback to the ACT Government about the Draft ACT Cat Plan, which seeks to better manage cats for their health, welfare, and safety as well as that of native wildlife.

The ACT Government consulted RSPCA ACT and other stakeholders in their draft plan, and CEO Michelle Robertson said the organisation is supporting the draft.

“There are a few things we feel strongly about with the draft plan, which are desexing, microchipping and cat containment which the ACT Government has taken into account,” she shared with Region Media.

On the topic of cat containment, Ms Robertson said they support it in principle but there are factors that the government needs to consider.

“If you have a cat that wasn’t contained, you can’t just overnight contain your cat. There is a very specific process that needs to be followed and there needs to be transitional arrangements in place.

“For us, it is about how we best secure the safety and welfare of animals. Contained cats are less likely to become lost, they are less likely to be hurt and they are less likely to get into fights and get diseases.

“All in all, we support the notion of cat containment if it is implemented in a sensible way.”

Ms Robertson said RSPCA ACT will provide tips to cat owners to help transition them into containment if the draft does come into effect.

“Cat containment is not cat confinement,” Ms Robertson said. “A cat needs to be able to display its normal behaviour so the RSPCA ACT will always advocate for things that are in the best interest of the animal.

“People need to use their voice and weigh in on this draft.”

With an estimated one in four Canberra households owning a cat, Minister for City Services Chris Steel said it is essential to implement a cat plan.

“It is important we have a conversation on how we can all work to protect our environment from cats as well as keeping our cats safe,” Mr Steel said. “Without a community supported cat plan, we will continue to see both animal welfare issues and significant environmental impacts from cats in the ACT.

“We have been getting a lot of great feedback from the community on a range of cat management issues and proposed actions including cat containment, desexing, cat registration and the control of unowned and stray cats.

“We are keen to hear from all Canberrans but particularly cat owners to get their thoughts on how we should manage cats going forward.”

To submit feedback or to find out more, click here.


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54 Responses to RSPCA throws support behind ACT Government’s cat containment plan
Kylie Lahaha Kylie Lahaha 3:46 pm 27 Jun 19

This will only make the honest cat owners suffer. The backyardy breeders will still do whatever they want.

Gail Langendorf Gail Langendorf 12:04 pm 27 Jun 19

Suzanna Schiefer I thought you would like read or even weigh in.

Ally Hudson Ally Hudson 9:59 am 27 Jun 19

it is too con lenient to blame cats and penalise their owners for wildlife destruction when it is mankind who do the damage. laws have been in place to save hawks etc. they have been responsible for wiping out so many little birds on my place. not to me ntion currawongs and crows whom I have witnessed killing a kookaburra. they just kept di room ing it until it fell to the ground. don't blame cats.

    Teagan Williams Teagan Williams 12:20 pm 27 Jun 19

    Hawks, crows and currawongs are all native and essential parts of the eco system. Cats are introduced and their behaviour within the eco system unsettles the balance. Do you understand how cats killing native animals, and native animails killing native animals are two completely different things? I am a cat lover. I have always owned cats. But to deny the impact irresponsible cat ownership has on our natural ecosystems is remarkably ill informed.

    Ally Hudson Ally Hudson 8:01 pm 27 Jun 19

    Teagan Williams omg what propaganda have you been reading. so what man is introduced also. where does this argument go. life has gone on in Australia with all of us introduced species. do not solely is me cats. once they ate eradicated, which is obviously the aim..Then What is next??? dog's?? all the creatures who give humans comfort??, chooks ,any other pets?

    where will these people stop with their not native?

    Ian Anderson Ian Anderson 7:06 am 28 Jun 19

    Ally Hudson Sorry Ally but you're the one that's clearly been reading the propaganda.

    Teagan Williams Teagan Williams 7:56 am 28 Jun 19

    Yes man is introduced and we have had a terrible impact on the local ecosystem. No one is saying we should be exterminated. But we should accept our responsibility and try to do better. Just like how no one is saying cat ownership should be illegal. Theyre just saying if you have a cat be responsible about it. Get it desexed, microchipped, and stop letting them run around the neighbourhood killing things. Here's a photo of my cat Jaffa who is desexed, microchipped, and an indoor cat who has never killed anything in his life. He's a very happy healthy boy. I dont see whats so hard about this?

    Ally Hudson Ally Hudson 1:16 pm 28 Jun 19

    Ian Anderson I observe with my own eyes the effect hawks and other predatory birds have on my own little bird population that live on my farm. I have watched helplessly many deaths including a tiger snake high up in a pinetree which killed 2 baby pee wees. man protects some creatures and harms/contains others on the written words of a few who purport to be experts.

    Ally Hudson Ally Hudson 1:16 pm 28 Jun 19

    Ian Anderson I also would like proof that cats are not native!!

    Ian Anderson Ian Anderson 3:11 pm 28 Jun 19

    Ally Hudson Read Teagan's first comment over and over again. That's called the circle of life and can be brutal!

    No fossil records or bone records of wild cats in Australia.

    Everybody with any science credentials agree they are an introduced species called the domestic cat, that has already contributed to 61 extinctions and likely many more coming.

    Be careful what you read, so much propaganda out there, much from groups wanting your money!

    Cats are a problem created by mankind, introducing them all over the world, and now everybody has to accept that, and try our best to save species.

Joanne Clark Joanne Clark 3:14 am 27 Jun 19

Funny, I agree that humans are destructive souls and more of a threat to wildlife than a properly looked after cat. And yes I am the owner of a desexed, microchipped cat who is allowed outside to play in the grass at his own free will via a pet door.

I see so much wildlife lying beside our roads having been hit by vehicles, houses/units encroaching on paddocks where smaller wildlife reside as urban sprawl expands.

Yet people continue to ostracize the cat. Yes there are bad owners, and dumping causes a feral cat problem, but not all cat owners should be tarred with the brush of being ostracized for loving a cat.

    Ian Anderson Ian Anderson 10:02 am 28 Jun 19

    Bet your cat is all around the neighborhood when you're not watching it.

    Peter Hislop Peter Hislop 5:28 pm 29 Jun 19

    There have been many GPS studies of cat roaming that owners have been shocked by.

    Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 7:32 am 30 Jun 19

    Joanne Clark. Spot on. Cities are not safe places for wildlife. Or pets, for that matter.

    But Julie above touches on a significant problem. Birds need places to hide from predators and to build nests and find food. With smaller house blocks and less public land, we're seeing fewer places for birds. They cannot live on air alone.

    Hedges and bushes make excellent environments for small birds to live in. The sweet little wrens, especially. But where in an apartment development are there bird habitats?

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 2:16 am 27 Jun 19

I imagine most of the replies to this will be unbalanced; mainly from people who have an agenda against cats. There have always been cat haters; now they can have their day. Recently they have discovered wildlife to use as a convenient weapon against cats. Tell me, since there have been less/no cats roaming has the wild life (especially small bird numbers) increased? Less cats (hardly ever see a cat now) where I live and less small birds than when there were cats. Can't blame the almost non-existing domestic cats now for the continuing decline in birds, but they continue to decline. It's us, people, who are causing this decline, building bigger houses, resulting in small gardens, concreting much of what garden is left. Less places for birds to live. (I do not have a cat, so no cat to defend; just giving some realism to this.)

    Andrew Dudley Andrew Dudley 11:37 am 27 Jun 19

    Julie Macklin very true.

    Ian Anderson Ian Anderson 10:06 am 28 Jun 19

    But I bet you used to have a cat!

    Annie Greenaway Annie Greenaway 11:06 am 28 Jun 19

    And the very worrying thing is that there seems to be very UNBALANCED distribution of this ACT Cat Plan. I only found out about it 2 days ago. Many of the cat groups I am in contact with also did not know about it.

    The results will most definitely be skewed if not everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the survey and make submissions.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:45 am 28 Jun 19

    Ian Anderson Yes, I bet most people "used to have a cat" at some time if they go back far enough. For me about 20 years ago. Are you inferring that when people have had a cat they find they can no longer hate cats, and as they are no longer haters, their comments are suspect, and that only people who have never had a cat and/or hate them should be listened to?! Also at various times, I had guinea pigs, a rabbit, a dog, fish...oh and silkworms. So, your point! Comments on those. This is a witch hunt. Cat haters used to say they belonged to the devil. Now they have found other ways to attack their (domestic cats) existence. All the while ignoring the real reason for wildlife reductions...us.

    Ian Anderson Ian Anderson 1:17 pm 28 Jun 19

    Julie Macklin I'm suggesting cat haters are a figment of your imagination.

    I don't understand why you feel the need to have an imaginary enemy to fight against.

    Yes people do crawl things to cats, but I think they're just cruel people, and cats just happen to be a convenient victim.

    Peta have a long list of these types of attacks.

    You're still advocating for outdoor cats and your bizarre references back to medieval Europe are just weird, and inappropriate, because that was such a different time from today.

    I think you have a guilty conscience for all the wildlife your cat killed, back from 20 years ago. And maybe some of your cats went missing and you can't blame yourself

    Nobody wants to attack domestic cats existence!!!!

    Another figment of your imagination.

    They and me want owned cats to be well cared for and valued.

    And when you say we/us are to blame you are actually spot on, because humans are responsible for the cat problem.

    Yes us, the same humans causing all the other problems in the world.

    For some reason you can't accept this, or get your head around it.

    Nobody blames the cats, they blame selfish people who for some bizarre reason like to let their cats kill wildlife, or who pretend to love wildlife, but really don't give a damn as long as their cat can have fun hunting them, and it suits their lazy selfish lifestyle.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 1:44 pm 28 Jun 19

    Ian Anderson Actually not all cats hunt; it varies. And I have seen both ends of the scale. A cat we had when I was a child was an environment disaster. Although most of the catch tended to be rats (there was a chicken run next door), there were birds too. But that cat had come from a semi-wild background off a farm. Then on the other hand, my last cat (20 years ago) didn't appear to hunt birds. I have only what I saw to go on to say this. Regularly lying in the back garden and birds hopping near by him safely. The birds became used to him and appeared to trust him. Years ago the cat haters would write to the newspapers complaining about cats digging holes in the back garden. I haven't seen one of those letters for years now. Now it's about cats killing wildlife. No doubt the same people (the earlier ones wouldn't have just gone away); they have just found a more effective way to express their hate of cats. I am not saying that all people who advocate to lock up cats hate cats, but there are a fair number that do. It's a modern day witch hunt to them. Personally I believe there should be a limit on number of both cats and dogs per household. They should be desexed and chipped, and brought in at night. But they shouldn't be locked up during the day. That's cruel.

    Ian Anderson Ian Anderson 3:34 pm 28 Jun 19

    Julie Macklin Lol I'm the guy complaining about the cat poo in my garden and them killing the birds I love, Why the hell does that make me a cat hater?! Guess I shouldn't be petting and playing with cats at friends houses anymore! You think the cats would sense my hate! Joking they don't sense it, because I don't hate or blame them. I blame humans.

    I agree all cats are not the same, but I'm totally in favor of Catios as a way to keep cats and wildlife separate, and better for neighborly relations.

    We can't be testing each cat to see which is a big time hunter and which isn't.

    You call it cruel to lock up cats, whereas more and more car owners people say their cats are very happy if you provide the right environment. And a longer, safer, healthier life.

    Cats hunting instincts can be satisfied with toys and games.

    What I call cruel to let our PETS kill fledgling birds or a parent bird trying to gather food to feed it's nestlings, who then starve.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 5:42 pm 28 Jun 19

    Ian Anderson Actually the cat that didn't hunt, never liked playing with toys. (Disappointed a friend who brought him toys for Christmas; he ignored them. But as a young cat he liked to play fight with another young cat. I don't know if this is connected, but he grew up with no interest in hunting (the same as he wasn't interested in toys as a kitten; basically practice things for hunting), but grew up a fighter. A big cat (a lean 6.7kgs, when the average cat is about 4kg); he kept my yard free of other cats. I have always been a keen gardener; growing much of my food, but although I'm sure there was cat poo buried in the garden, I never gave it much thought. Fertiliser.

    Ian Anderson Ian Anderson 9:21 am 29 Jun 19

    Julie Macklin I worry about the Toxo parasite, that can be in cat poo. I have a young son to protect.

    A little understood parasite that is becoming more and more strongly linked to mental disorders in recent studies.

    Can't be good for the cat either.

    Outdoor cats get 3 times as many pathogens and parasites as indoor cats.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 7:04 pm 29 Jun 19

    Ian Anderson Yes it can be caught from cats, but apparently it's more common to become infected by eating undercooked or raw meat.

    Ian Anderson Ian Anderson 12:31 am 30 Jun 19

    Julie Macklin Yes and that meat became infected by the animal coming into contact due to cat poo on the farm.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:39 am 30 Jun 19

    Ian Anderson And other mammals and birds. Cook meat well and don't eat raw meat.

    Ian Anderson Ian Anderson 3:56 am 30 Jun 19

    Julie Macklin Not sure what you mean by "and other mammals and birds".

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 4:21 pm 26 Jun 19

At the rate that this government is swapping green spaces for apartments, there won’t be any native wildlife for cats to get rid of.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 2:18 am 27 Jun 19

    Houses take up even more green space than apartments, especially the modern McMansion that's far bigger than houses used to be.

    Sally Greenaway Sally Greenaway 8:01 am 27 Jun 19

    Have you been to Coombs? Coombs is a cat containment zone but there is zero wildlife because no one has a garden and if they do have a garden it's filled with exotics or with fake grass or decking on concrete. No space for wildlife accept in the flood water area and water catchment area heading towards the RSPCA. Even despite the bushfires in that area before all this building there was so much wildlife and now there's basically nothing. So whilst I agree with the idea of responsible cat ownership and I think having a suburb with a cat containment zone enforced, I think it's pointless in that suburb because there's nothing there for wildlife.

    Annie Greenaway Annie Greenaway 11:07 am 28 Jun 19

    I agree Gabriel. Cats are a very convenient scapegoat.

Lindsey Wells Lindsey Wells 1:55 pm 26 Jun 19

Too bad if you rent, have a cat and have to have it contained! Just another unnecessary hurdle for renters!!!

    John Perkins John Perkins 8:40 pm 26 Jun 19

    Lindsey Wells, cat containment is vital to protect our native wildlife. Roaming cats are effective killers of wildlife, they have excellent night vision, they are patient, and climb trees, our native wildlife have no chance against them.

    Rodney Broughton Rodney Broughton 8:53 pm 26 Jun 19

    so your saying if you rent its ok to let the cat out to roam freely????

    Lindsey Wells Lindsey Wells 10:45 pm 26 Jun 19

    I agree it’s not good for native animals ... just try renting with any pet ... it’s a hassle ...

    Sally Greenaway Sally Greenaway 8:06 am 27 Jun 19

    I know what you mean. How I deal with it is I put my cat on a leash and supervise her outside time in the garden. And she's always an indoor cat otherwise. Very happy! This means I don't have to have a big boxed cat run mesh system.

Tracy Hancock Tracy Hancock 12:09 pm 26 Jun 19

I’m all for desexing, microchipping, and containment. I own 2 cats who already meet all those requirements. I do not support registration and yearly fees for registration. I can’t help but feel this is just more dirty money grabbing techniques by our inept local Labor government who cannot manage our local economy. There are many wonderful benefits to pet ownership and the cost of owning pets is already substantial. This adds additional financial burden to people who had not factored this cost in when taking on ownership responsibilities. I get the feeling this will be another “consultation” process (like the one we had for transport) where people have their say, and then the government ignore it and do what they want anyway.

Harper Pirsig Harper Pirsig 11:53 am 26 Jun 19

Should be a phased in approach, applying to newly born cats from a certain date. That date can be as early as need be. Then, once you know that’s the rule, you can’t complain.

    John Perkins John Perkins 8:48 pm 26 Jun 19

    Harper Pirsig, we need cat containment controls as quickly as possible, our wildlife don't have time on their side if they are going to survive. There is a war going on against our native wildlife by roaming cats, and our wildlife are on the losing end of this battle currently.

    Harper Pirsig Harper Pirsig 10:02 pm 26 Jun 19

    John Perkins actually, the war against our native wildlife is being waged by humans, much more than cats. If you are genuinely concerned about our native wildlife, you’d be calling for a very strict population policy in Australia and a population cap. Humans cause urban sprawl, pollution of waterways and deforestation and these things are much worse than cats. That’s the real big picture, but nobody wants to talk about managing population growth. Our governments can’t generate economic growth other than through population growth, and the building and construction industries are very influential. So I call for more discussion on the environmental damage caused by population growth in the ACT and Australia, because we humans damage the environment more than anything else.

    Rodney Broughton Rodney Broughton 10:34 pm 26 Jun 19

    i agree with harper my home town had a huge population of koalas now that is declining rapidly due to urban growth

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:21 am 27 Jun 19

    John Perkins "our wildlife don't have time on their side if they are going to survive. There is a war going on against our native wildlife by" humans " and our wildlife are on the losing end of this battle currently." So solutions to this real problem please. Domestic cats are just the scapegoat for the real problem, which must not be mentioned, you and the rest of us humans.

    Ian Anderson Ian Anderson 7:12 am 28 Jun 19

    Julie Macklin Keep your cat at home is the easy solution.

    Cats are a human made problem, just like habitat loss.

    John Perkins John Perkins 7:57 am 28 Jun 19

    Harper Pirsig, we undertake regular night time surveys as part of a conservation program, we are using leading edge thermal imagining equitment, what we most often see as part of this survey? Cats roaming our bushland areas, often domestic cats with collars on. Our nocturnal wildlife, especially the gliding possum species have no chance against a roaming cat, out on the hunt in our bushland reserves. Roaming cats are an absolute environmental scourge.

Rodney Broughton Rodney Broughton 11:38 am 26 Jun 19

Roaming cats should be trapped and if chipped owners if wishing to collect them have to pay a fine for letting their cats roam. Then if they are not collected to be desexed rehomed if that's not possible then they suffer the same fate as most pound animals.

    John Perkins John Perkins 8:50 pm 26 Jun 19

    Rodney Broughton, keep in mind you will only ever trap a cat once, after an experience like this, the trapped cat will never go near a cat trap again.

    Rodney Broughton Rodney Broughton 8:51 pm 26 Jun 19

    a hungry animal will go for bait eventually

    Kevin Vaughan Kevin Vaughan 10:25 pm 26 Jun 19

    With so many serious problems in the world there are people who want to focus on containing cats.

    Rodney Broughton Rodney Broughton 10:32 pm 26 Jun 19

    Kevin Vaughan yes because they kill a large amount of native animals a year and if its not sorted our native animals will disappear. And if one species is wiped out it has huge repercussion on everything else. Take snakes for example. each snake in its lifetime eats hundreds if not thousands of rodents. thats each individual snake. Wipe snakes out and all of a sudden we are over run with rodents. cats also kill birds which spread seads from trees and other plants stop trees from a natural source of spreading out and what implications that has. Its not just a hate for cats. I like cats i like all animals but they are a natural born predator.

    Sally Greenaway Sally Greenaway 8:03 am 27 Jun 19

    Yes I agree, but our biggest problem with native animal decline is not cats. It's fewer gardens and diminished green spaces. Aka humans!

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:16 am 27 Jun 19

    I hardly ever see a cat now in my suburb. I see less small birds too. Nothing to do with almost non-existent domestic cats. I saw more birds when domestic cats used to roam free. I suppose the domestic cats could have been replaced with hungrier feral cats taking their territory, and they only come out at night when they are unlikely to be seen. In effect, ban domestic cats from roaming, and make a bigger problem. But the main problem to wildlife is not cats, but humans.

    Ian Anderson Ian Anderson 10:05 am 28 Jun 19

    Julie Macklin Yes irresponsible cat owning humans are one of the problem humans you talk about.

    Rodney Broughton Rodney Broughton 10:10 am 28 Jun 19

    Yeah.. humans are the problem. Letting their cats roam free and breeding with other cats bringing on wild feral cats.

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