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Total cat containment, yeah right!

By John Hargreaves - 6 April 2015 85

cats cuddled on bed

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.

What’s Your opinion?


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Total cat containment, yeah right!
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Pandy 10:53 pm 28 Apr 15

Our two boys are such darlings and purr there little hearts out while sleeping at the base of the bed.

If the odd pigeon cannot get out of the way and get captured, well that is Darwinism at work.

Kalfour 9:25 pm 16 Apr 15

Maya123 said :

How do you feel about birds pooing in your garden? They carry disease. Bird flu! Or how about the flying foxes dropping a ‘gift’ as they fly over or roast in your trees? This happens, and we have to live with it. It’s no good singling out just cats about this. I don’t have a cat, but cats use my garden. Instead of letting it upset me, I think positively about this. It’s free garden fertilizer, and at least they bury it, unlike many other creatures. The only way you are going to lock out nature is to build walls and a roof (especially that) over your garden.

FYI, dog and cat poo are much more likely to burn your plants than bird poo. And cat poo smells much worse.

Also, there’s a huge difference between wild animal behaviour and domestic. Wild natives, we have to put up with. Wild ferals, we kill.
We shouldn’t have to deal with roaming domestics.
For one thing, feral cats and foxes in my neighbourhood only come out at night. If it weren’t for domestic cats, I’d be safe to let my guinea pigs roam by day, and lock them in their hutch at night.
As it is, I can’t.

And John, you’re up on your high horse. I’d like to see a response to my earlier comment.

Domestic cats have attacked, and twice killed, my pets. In my yard. I know they’re domestic because I know the owners.

If your cats chase string or laser pointers, they also hunt. And being well fed won’t stop them.

Why is your self-entitlement more important than the safety of my pets?

John Hargreaves 10:38 am 14 Apr 15

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves said :

dungfungus said :

When you are relaxing with your cat in front of the TV while enjoying some wine, cheese and crackers does your cat get nervous? (about the crackers).

Actually no – but he does when noisy young people run down our street, squealing, whilst not on a leash. They no doubt bring back memories of those who strapped the fireworks to his underbelly and set him alight with kero.

But he does enjoy the peace and quiet of the long weekend now and I keep him by my side when the fireworks go off in November/December for the Tuggeranong Community Festival, which are set off by professionals not amateurs dealing with lethal explosives.

Still smarting over the banning of fireworks, eh? Time to move on.

How come you can ban fireworks successfully but banning drugs at AMC has been unsuccessful?

both have been banned through legislation and with fireworks, the community at large mostly respects the law. Drugs are another matter altogether but thanks for the red herring.

wildturkeycanoe 7:25 am 14 Apr 15

Nightshade said :

Maya123 said :

YeahWhatever said :

Responsible cat owners keep their cats indoors. It takes a bit of effort to setup your home so that your indoor cats remain content. People that let them roam are just lazy, irresponsible and selfish.

No, they likely consider it cruel to imprison a living creature, as keeping birds in cages is cruel. If a cat is desexed they are likely to wander less (thinking mainly of the wandering tomcats here), and they will not add to the feral/stray population.

Maya, you are basically saying that cats are not a suitable pet for an urban environment, as they are intrinsically unhappy with what their owner can provide for them within the bounds of their own property.

No pets [except maybe fish] are suitable for urban environment but humans have an inherent need to keep such things. According to half the cat owners here they say that the cats are happy to stay indoors all day, others claim they need to go and explore the entire suburb at night to be happy. Whose to say how happy a cat is and what conditions are appropriate? We keep humans [innmates] in more confinement than most of our cats, their comfort isn’t questioned. Look at dementia patients for another example, appropriate measures are made to prevent them going out into the streets and becoming a nuisance to neighbors and motorists, why is it so hard to keep a five pound animal the same way?

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