Wednesday 29 December 2021

Australia is heading towards a federal lockdown of domestic cats to prevent predation on native species

There has been a gradual chipping away of the freedoms of the domestic cat in Australia. Here are some examples. Cats in South Australia's Adelaide Hills are banned from going outside from 8 PM to 7 AM. In Fremantle, Western Australia, domestic cats will be banned from public areas as reported in the Daily Mail.

Preying on a bird in Australia
Cat preying on a bird. A major reason why Australians want to confine domestic cats permanently. The photograph is provided by Shutterstock.

The new rules in Western Australia need to be signed off by the state parliament but if and when passed the legislation will ban domestic cats from footpaths, verges and roads unless on a lead. Cat owners already face a $200 fine if their domestic cat strays onto council bushland. That may be extended to other council land.

It is believed that a nationwide ban on cats being allowed to roam freely is creeping nearer. The objective is to bring cats into line with dogs so that when they go outside they are on a lead. Otherwise they are confined to the home plus a catio or back garden enclosure.

If and when such a federal law exists, either by default through local governments enacting such laws or to a federal law, Australia will be the first country in the world to confine cats in this way. 

Canberra already plans to make all new domestic cat companions full-time indoor cats from mid 2022. A violation of that future law will result in the owner facing a $1600 fine. 

Residents in Bendigo, Victoria, must now keep their cats within their property or pay a AU$120 fine to reclaim their cat from officials.

One council member of Fremantle, Adin Lang, thinks that one day Australians will look back at this time and scratch their heads and wonder why they allowed domestic cats to go outside so freely.

RELATED: European settlers: the world’s greatest invasive species (not feral cats)?

Australia has a particular problem, as I'm sure you are aware, with feral cats and indeed domestic cats preying on native wildlife particularly small native mammals and marsupials. They hate it although they are myopic in respect of human destruction of wildlife habitat. They like to pass the buck onto the poor cat which was put there by people in the first place. The domestic and therefore feral cat is non-native to Australia. They were brought to the island by settlers. Some domestic cats turned feral and now there are 2 million feral cats in Australia. That's a guess because they don't know the true number.

Although the reasons for confining cats to the home and the backyard are very cogent. Not only is wildlife protected but so is the cat from accidents and other events which can injure the cat such as people poisoning cats or shooting cats.

RELATED: Speaking with an Australian lady about feral cats and Australia’s native species.

I've interviewed an Australian woman for my website (see link above). Like perhaps the majority of Australians she was for the culling of feral cats in order to protect wildlife. Arguably, there has been a gradual indoctrination of Australian citizens by local governments to implant the notion that feral cats need to be killed and domestic cats need to be confined.

One Australian, a cat breeder whose name is Pamela Lanigan of Cats United WA believes that councils and owners can do more to protect native animals. She also believe that more can be done to sterilise domestic cats. She wants low-cost spay and neuter clinics. Arguably, she is hypocritical with the nerve to speak up. She is breeding cats, bringing new domestic cat into the world while there are unwanted cats at shelters waiting to be adopted. I think she would do better to keep quiet.

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