Cat control

In 2017, a survey conducted by the Adelaide Hills Council found that about 80% of respondents supported consideration of mandatory cat confinement across the council area.

The latest push for Statewide cat confinement laws is a sign of changing attitudes among South Australians.
For decades pet cats have roamed the streets of suburbs, towns and regional areas, sometimes returning home only to be fed.
But over the past few years, sentiment about cat management and what constitutes responsible cat ownership has been changing.
Bev Langley, who runs Minton Farm Animal Rescue, says the number of animals brought in to her hospital after cat attacks has dramatically increased over the past five years and she’s now hoping to get 10,000 signatures on a petition calling for State-wide mandatory cat confinement.
In 2017, a survey conducted by the Adelaide Hills Council found that about 80% of respondents supported consideration of mandatory cat confinement across the council area.
Similar surveys in the neighboring Mt Barker Council also returned majority support for tighter cat control.
This support may be in part the result of an increasing awareness of the importance of the native environment and studies that have shown the incredible damage cats do to it when left to roam.
It is estimated feral and pet cats kill up to 1.5 billion native animals in Australia annually.
Straying cats are a particular issue in high biodiversity areas such as the Hills, which is home to several of Australia’s native and endangered species, including the southern brown bandicoot.
And yet, while owners of dogs are responsible for keeping their pets under control at all times, cat owners have no obligation under State law to know the whereabouts or actions of their pet.
Several councils have been on the front foot of change in this arena, including the Adelaide Hills Council which will introduce mandatory cat confinement next year and the Mt Barker Council which introduced a cat curfew last year.
But while individual councils are increasingly recognising the merit of tighter cat controls, what is really needed is a State-wide approach.
Taking action council by council is a slow and laborious way of achieving what is likely to be inevitable. It’s time for the State Government to take the lead.