We all know that cats eat native animals and birds, and lots of them. And the control of cats is not limited to the control of feral cats. House cats can become stray cats. Strays breed and feral cats result. To control cats, we need an integrated multi-strategy approach from educating house and shed cat owners to coordinated feral control programs.
Oyster Harbour Catchment Group Project Officer, Jenni Loveland, is passionate about the control of cats in order to protect the natural environment. This passion has seen Jenni initiate the Albany and Surrounds Feral Cat Working Group (ASFCWG). An initial workshop in 2019 saw the gathering of a variety of stakeholders with a connection to cats or cat activities, including cat lovers, wildlife carers, vets, RSPCA, Noongar Rangers, pest control contractors, local shires, DBCA, catchment group coordinators and landholders. In June 2019, the first official meeting for the ASFCWG was held and the working group was formed.
In January 2020 the group was successful in applying for funding. This funding allows the ASFCWG to collaborate with stakeholders in the development of a strategic plan to control cats. The goal is to conserve our biodiversity, protect threatened species and increase public awareness of the need to control cats.
The ASFCWG is enthusiastic about education opportunities and will initiate workshops in schools, TAFEs, and for the general public. These workshops will promote the preservation of wildlife by encouraging cat owners to reduce the impact their pets are having on the native fauna. As an important member of the family, cats also deserve to be safe and protected from diseases, injury, cat fights and getting lost. Did you know that enclosed cats either in a ‘catio’ or inside can live up to four times longer than those allowed to roam freely?
The group aims to undertake best practice feral cat control and are looking for solutions to address issues arising from the stray cat population. They are currently developing a local feral cat integrated control strategy for on-ground action that can operate within existing state law. This strategy will be include not only house cats, stray cats and feral cats solutions but also, foxes rabbits and feral cat control options that can operate within state law.
ASFCWG hope to become a point of contact for any cat issues and problems and offer answers to common cat problems or to point enquiries towards appropriate assistance. Already helpful documents have been collated on the Oyster Harbour Catchment Group and Nullaki Conservation Initiative websites.
The group will continue to advocate for better cat containment laws and other cats issues in the Albany and surrounding area as a collective ‘voice’ to ensure we have native animals around for many years to come.
This project is led by the Albany and Surrounds Feral Cat Working Group.
The work is supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State Natural Resource Management Program, supported by Royalties for Regions.