Acting on cats

The culling of 250 feral cats in the Alexandrina Council district through 2016 is an indicator of the significant uphill battle authorities are facing with animal control.
That in just one council district an average of almost five cats a week can be trapped and euthanised highlights the magnitude of the feral cat problem.
There is no doubt that cats cause ecological harm and pose a threat to native wildlife, as well as being a risk of disease and harm to domesticated pets.
Removing them, therefore, brings benefits from a healthier environment to healthier pets.
The notion of a cat cull isn’t likely to be popular with all sectors of the community, however, the council should be commended for its proactive program that aims to reduce both the nuisance and ecological harm caused by the feral animals.
Cats are trapped by residents under strict guidelines.
The council does all it can to identify their owners and, if that fails, the animals are assessed for suitability for rehoming.
Its figures show that the overwhelming majority of these trapped animals cannot be domesticated.
The figures come at a time when SA councils are preparing to introduce tougher controls for cat management.
From July 1, 2018, all pet cats must be microchipped and desexed.
Authorities hope the new measures will help curb the number of feral and unwanted animals.
But implementing the changes will be costly for pet owners, as well as for the local government authorities charged with upholding the new laws.
And some may even question whether the controls go far enough.
The council’s own recent consultation showed that 90% of almost 100 respondents wanted compulsory registration for cats and a further 80% wanted the animals confined to their owner’s property.
One thing is certain: we must accept changes to cat management if we are to curb the feral cat problem.
It is an indictment on our modern throw-away society that we allow animals to breed, then abandon them to become feral, only to end up killing them when their fight for survival becomes a nuisance to our way of life.