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.
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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.