Cat confinement

It was no surprise to find non-cat owners responded overwhelmingly in favor of the Mt Barker Council’s proposed cat management by-law during its community consultation phase.
It was, however, encouraging to see that around half of cat owners who responded also supported the proposed changes.
The by-law, which was adopted on Monday and will be enforced in around four month’s time, will require owners to keep their cats indoors between 8pm–7am, register them and only keep two on a property (with some exceptions to the latter).
Felines are widely regarded as one of the major threats to Australia’s natural environment, killing around six million native animals every day.
No matter how cute and cuddly they may seem – or whether they are feral or domestic – cats are tuned to the hunt, and when they see something flutter they can’t help but pounce.
And they’re extremely effective hunters.
As non-natives, they are one of the many animal and disease species introduced to Australia by foreigners that have, over time, upset the natural ecological balance, contributing to the decline of some native animals and birds.
But perhaps cat owners are also seeing that there are other benefits to preventing their pets from roaming outdoors.
A confined cat would avoid a multitude of dangers it would otherwise face wandering the streets.
Confined cats won’t be hit by cars, be killed or injured by other animals (including cats and humans) or simply get lost and not return home.
It is hard to argue against the logic that when someone owns an animal – no matter the species – they are required to contain it and provide it a safe home environment.
A host of other councils around the State are investigating similar measures, particularly the Adelaide Hills Council where cats will be confined to their owner’s properties 24/7 from 2022.
There will continue to be opponents to such regulations, but maybe the increasing community acceptance of cat controls is a sign that residents are more aware of the need to protect our native environment and of the realisation among cat owners they can play an important part in its protection.