Canberra has been abuzz with talk of cat containment this week with the possibility of Canberra becoming the first Australian city to ban cats from roaming free if options from a report on Responsible pet ownership and the protection of wildlife: Options for improving the management of cats in the ACT are explored. This media coverage has been fantastic for the Conservation Council’s community education program on the impacts of cats on Canberra’s wildlife. The more Canberrans talk about cats and their experiences of roaming cats hunting, fighting and getting injured, the more people will realise that it is better for our wildlife and our feline friends, to keep our cats inside or in our backyards day and night.
It all started Friday (10/10/14) with a Canberra Times article by John Thistleton. The article ‘Time is up for Canberra fat, unrestrained cats’ talks about cat management options in Canberra and highlights the need for further community education – cue the Conservation Council and our awareness building campaign.
This was followed up with a story about our friend Lyn Goldsworthy from the Frank Fenner Foundation and how she keeps her cats from roaming and hunting- ‘Lyn Goldsworthy is a conservationist who loves cats but makes sure birds are out of reach’. Lyn’s story is great as she demonstrates how affordable and easy keeping cats from roaming can be – as simple as supervising our cats on a leash in the backyard. There is no denying that Lyn’s cat Teagha is a content contained cat.
It quickly became apparent that this story has legs! Soon, we were talking to Marcus Paul from 2CC Canberra (who by the way contains his cat) and hearing cat containment discussions on ABC 666 and Radio National.
ABC News Canberra picked up the story Monday night ‘Canberra cat containment could be extended city-wide’ and followed through with the story on Lateline and ABC morning news – ‘Canberra cats may have to stay indoors’.
The reaction we have seen from all this media coverage has been overwhelmingly positive – which doesn’t surprise us given that a telephone survey from 2011 found that 65 percent of ACT residents support cat containment in new suburbs and 91 percent of residents think there are benefits to the community if cats are contained with the key benefit being reduced risk to wildlife.
If you want to keeping following our community education program on cat containment, follow us on Facebook for weekly ‘Fursday’ posts!