Act on cat issue

Why are pet cats treated differently to dogs in Australia, particularly in urban areas?
Society doesn’t tolerate dogs barking or wandering at large and yet householders seem to be fine with cats roaming the neighborhood at night.
Perhaps the heart of the problem is the perception of risk to humans.
Dogs can be aggressive whereas cats are more invisible and tend to flee when approached.
But does that make their behavior more acceptable?
According to recent studies, feral cats in Australia eat more than 20 billion – that’s billion, not million – mammals, reptiles, birds and insects a year.
That figure doesn’t include what ‘Fluffy’ the domestic cat and his friends eat every day when they are allowed to do what cats do naturally – be a predator.
Cats will kill when they’re hungry and many  will also kill when they are not hungry.
That fact is easy to ignore when you don’t see it and let Fluffy out the back door at night.
But local couple Charles Hart and Lynn MacFarlane couldn’t ignore the carnage when they inadvertently set up a “killing field” in their backyard in Stirling.
In their bid to enjoy interactions with kookaburras and possums, they also invited cats into their home.
Their solution was trapping, with 55 strays and ferals caught in three years – the highest number of trapped cats by an individual recorded by the RSPCA in recent times.
The couple tried working with neighbors to desex the local domestic population, but it made no difference to the carnage.
That doesn’t mean desexing isn’t essential for cat control, it is.
Dr Hart’s experience re-enforces one of the strong criticisms wildlife advocates have for cat campaigners who prefer to trap, neuter and return feral and stray animals rather than euthanise them.
Experts say defeating the cat problem must include simultaneous dealings with all three layers of the issue – feral, domestic and stray populations.
Domestic cats must be identified, confined and desexed to reduce them replenishing the stray  population – the interface between owned cats and feral cats – while stray and feral cats need to be removed at every opportunity.