Why do we need cat containment?

On Tuesday 26 March, we held an Environment Exchange on cat containment in the ACT. We had guest speakers discuss how we can love cats and wildlife too. The Conservation Council’s position is that all of Canberra should have cat containment by 2025, with due consideration given to the protection of wildlife and cat welfare.

The first guest speaker was Michael Mulvaney, Senior Environmental Planner at EPSDD. He gave an overview of the paper (co-authored by Kathy Eyles) on responsible pet ownership and protection of wildlife.

Michael brought to light the statistics relating to domestic cats, their movements and impacts on local wildlife. There are 56,000 domestic cats in the ACT and these cats make incursion into reserves up to 1km every night. According to the research, this statistic translates to approximately 850 household cats roaming on Red Hill each day or night.

His research showed an estimated 10,000+ rosellas are killed by cats in Canberra a year. Reptiles were the most predated species within 50m of grasslands and predation of native birds increased closer to woodland habitats. This shows the importance of cat containment in urban areas which are next to nature reserves.

The second guest speakers were Jane Speechley and Zoya Patel from RSCPA Australia. Jane and Zoya introduced their upcoming campaign “Keeping your cat safe and happy at home”. This national campaign is due to be released in a national effort to educate cat owners and the general public about the animal welfare benefits of cat containment and requirements to ensure cats have their welfare catered to in indoor environments, with particular regards to food, water, litter, resting and hiding spaces, and enrichment.

Our last speaker was Heather Tomlinson from EPSDD. She spoke about the policy context and updates on the ACT Government’s cat containment policy. In 2018, 15 suburbs – 12% of ACT suburbs – have cat containment. The ACT government’s draft cat plan is due to be released for community consultation during April and Heather urged the public to provide submissions.

We will be notifying you when the RSPCA launches its national campaign on cat containment and ACT Government cat plan consultations open. We will be working to urge government achieve our policy Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates.

Presentations

Michael Mulvaney

Heather Tomlinson

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