Tuesday 10 May 2011

Abandoned Cats And Dogs

While America does very little to stop the flow of abandoned cats and dogs, Australia is doing something about it. It is taking those much needed but rare first steps by instigating a proactive and planned approach to managing abandoned cats and dogs rather than the lazy reactive approach which essentially entails picking them up and killing them.

Sometimes they get rehomed through shelters but the majority get "euthanised" a euphemism for killing.

So, what are the Aussies doing? Well they kill cats too as it happens: Ground Shooting of Feral Cats. But certain states in Australia including Queensland have decided to introduce a combination of measures. This is a bold step into the unknown. And there are many skeptics who say it won't work - just shoot 'em and be done with it, they would say. This does not work and is a short term measure that is cruel.

Feral cat, Sydney, Australia
Photo by Frangipani Photograph

Mandatory registration of cats was introduced 2 years ago in Queenslad, so it is a good time to see what has happened. Has there been a reduction in the process of killing unwanted cats? That must be a measure of success.

The answer is a cautious yes to success. Although only an estimated 18% of the total number of cats have been registered after two years. Poor, don't you think? Yet, there has been a reducing in cat killing. It would seem to be a decent start. Something this new is bound to take time to get ingrained into the psyche. People expect to register dogs and it will take time for people to get to know about registering cats so that it becomes a routine.

In a poll on the Queensland Times website, people in that state and/or Australia strongly agreed (84%) that people should get a license before owning a pet. There is a desire in Australia to tackle irresponsible cat and dog ownership in a responsible way.

Registration is one aspect of the process to smarten up cat caretaking. Another proposal is compulsory spaying and neutering other than from cat breeders. In fact cat breeders often stipulate neutering if the cat is being sold as pet as opposed to a breeding cat.

The conclusion is that things can be done to reduce the mass slaughter every year of cats in the USA and elsewhere. It is time to take sensible, long term proactive steps which will be better for the community and for the cats in the long term.

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