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5 April 2019

Draft cat plan up for discussion

The Conservation Council ACT Region has welcomed today’s release of the Draft ACT Cat Plan, and encouraged the community to get involved in the consultation over the next three months.

“This is a great opportunity for community discussion on how we can improve outcomes for both domestic cats and our native wildlife” said Helen Oakey, Executive Director at the Conservation Council ACT Region.

“Canberrans are very lucky to be surrounded by unique and beautiful bush areas, however living so close to nature means native wildlife is more vulnerable to predation from roaming domestic cats.

“Cats are known to roam both during the day and at night, up to 1km from their homes, and unfortunately hunt many species of birds and animals. An ACT study has estimated that domestic cats kill more than 10,000 rosellas in Canberra each year.

“Cat containment means keeping your cat either inside the house or in an outside area where it can’t leave the premises.

“The good news is that keeping cats contained is not only good for wildlife, it also has benefits for your cat – uncontained cats are four times more likely than contained cats to suffer significant injures at least once a year

“The Draft ACT Cat Plan discusses options to expand cat containment in the ACT, such as gradually adding cat containment suburbs, putting in place requirements for new pet cats to be contained or simply declaring all suburbs cat containment.

“The Conservation Council supports the whole of the ACT becoming a cat containment area by 2025.

“While we know that cat containment measures in suburbs have been effective, given the spread of our native wildlife, and how far cats can roam, a uniform approach across all suburbs would be more successful in protecting native wildlife.

“The 2025 timeline gives cat owners time to transition cats to being contained, and also means that new cat owners can be informed of the upcoming measures and get their cat used to being contained.

“Most people want to be responsible cat owners. This means caring for the health and wellbeing of your cat, and taking responsibility for your cat’s impact on wildlife”, said Ms Oakey.

The Draft ACT Cat Plan 2019-29 is available here.