I noted an article recently bagging out cats in the suburbs and calling for the ACT to be a total cat containment area. This article contained all the hyperbole of the notion of cats roaming en masse throughout the suburbs killing at random all the native wildlife. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Starting off my response to this stuff, I should say I agree that a couple of streets bordering nature reserves ought to be designated as cat containment areas but this is a reaction to the ignorance of cat owners rather than the killing nature of moggies.
I have had cats all my adult life. In fact, I have two now, one 16 years old and the other 16 months old (pictured above). I had one cat in Lyneham, Higgins, Farrer and Gowrie, with others joining the old girl before coming to Wanniassa. The old girl was way behind the (in my view, somewhat suss) kill rate of native animals and birds. When she was young, she brought home the odd sparrow and the odd mouse. But she never roamed more than our adjacent homes. Hopeless really but cute and a great companion.
The others had and have similar records, with the odd silvereye falling prey because it ventured along with its hundreds of mates into the trees in my yard, to commune with the numerous crimson rosellas, king parrots, eastern rosellas, not to mention the magpies and currawongs, galahs, pink and grey cockatoos, sparrows, indian mynahs, honeyeaters, and crested pigeons. They’re all really scared of our cats! Not!
The only disturbance I get is the commotion from the marauding non-sexed male roamer who comes into my yard and monsters my little mates. Irresponsible owners it has.
The issue is desexing the little blighters. There should be penalties, and confiscation, of cats found and not desexed. It is actually the law nowadays that all kittens, except those for whom breeding licences are issued, be desexed, I think at six weeks or so. So anyone not complying with the law, actually breaks it but the penalties are hardly greater than a smack with a wet lettuce.
My cats are, and always have been tattooed, desexed, vaccinated and microchipped. I do this as a protection for them as much as a responsible thing to do as a good citizen.
I give my little mates lots of attention, a good food and water supply and the run of the house with a cat door. In return, they patrol my yard, keeping the elephants and rhinos out (with good effect, I’ll tell you); they visit next door but don’t go further than the house across the road. They sleep most of the night because they have no reason to go roaming. The desexing of males and females neuters the need to have sex. I know this because they have a greater share of the bed than I do and they don’t like being disturbed when I move.
So the real issue is that we should be making people act responsibly when living with moggies and if they don’t, they lose the moggy and some dollars to boot.
I reckon that there aren’t too many legless lizards, endangered species of small marsupials and threatened species of birds around the Erindale shopping centre, in fact in Wanniassa at all. If they do exist, they are in the nature park across the busy Sulwood Drive. The further you go into Tuggeranong, the less likely you will encounter these animals and birds.
The term domestic shorthair (used to describe my two moggies) is predicated on the animals being, (wait for it!) – domesticated, they are a companion animal. It is only when they are neglected, abused, underfed, allowed to be sexually whole, that they become unmanageable. In other words it is our fault, not theirs.
In closing, for now, I remind readers that my 16-year-old, Andy, was the kitten to whom fireworks were strapped, set alight with kerosene and left to explode, before being rescued by my daughter. The real animals here were those young men who thought it funny to torture a kitten with fireworks.
Wanna know why I was behind the push to ban fireworks here? Oh, and… how about we concentrate a bit more on dogs?
You show me proof that a domestic cat put a child in hospital by mauling it, or brought down a kangaroo in an adjacent nature reserve, or a sheep in a paddock and I’ll say OK, don’t worry anymore about feral dogs, worry about domestic cats.