There is no need for our loved and well-fed domestic cats to be on the loose outside, as they can live very happily indoors. Indeed, is there no nicer experience for a cat lover than to spend cold winter evenings sitting by a fire and cuddling their cat?
However, our loveable domestic cats are natural and effective predators in their home gardens and surrounding areas. They have adapted very quickly to a wide range of climates and are now a problem over most of Australia.
On the Surf Coast we are privileged to live in a wonderful natural environment which includes many unique and endangered species, such as our iconic Rufous Bristlebirds. Our coastal fringe has become an important refuge for native mammals such as Long-nosed and Brown Bandicoots, Swamp and Agile Antechinus, Long nosed Potoroo and Sugar Gliders. Recent research from Melbourne University showed that there are an estimated three times as many feral cats in Victoria’s Otways region as the national average. In a Deakin University study cats have been identified as a threat to declining mammal communities in the eastern Otways, particularly in recently identified mammal refuges in ares of coastal scrub.
If an outdoors experience is thought to be important for pets, then covered cat runs are a very successful way to provide this and can include a special area for kitty litter. Walking cats in a harness can also be enjoyed by cats and their owners.
A 24/7 cat curfew is a cheap and simple way to ensure that our pets are kept safe and happy, and our native wildlife is not at risk from roaming domestic cats. This is a win/win solution for our cats and wildlife.