Fremantle Gazette

Safe cats should be happy cats

- Ben Smith Hobbies · Pets · Cat Breeding · Cats · College · Higher Education · Cockburn · Fremantle · University of South Australia · Australia · South Australia · East Fremantle · Murdoch University

There are some very big ben­e­fits to do­mes­tic cat health and sur­vival when they are kept safely con­tained at home

Pro­fes­sor Michael Calver

COCKBURN, Fre­man­tle and East Fre­man­tle coun­cils are part of a south­ern sub­urbs ef­fort to ed­u­cate cat own­ers about the perks of keep­ing cats at home.

To­gether with the cities of Can­ning, Melville and Kwinana, as the South West Group, they have launched the Happy At Home pro­gram to urge peo­ple to be more mind­ful of their cats’ ac­tiv­i­ties and to limit their wan­der­ings.

SWG re­gional nat­u­ral re­source man­age­ment fa­cil­i­ta­tor Peter Nash said a GPS track­ing study un­der­taken by the Univer­sity of South Aus­tralia had shown just how far cats were able to roam when unchecked.

“One in­ter­est­ing find­ing of this re­search, which tracked more than 900 cats na­tion­ally, was that of the 177 cats that were clas­si­fied by their own­ers as be­ing kept in­side at night, 39 per cent of th­ese were found to have ac­tu­ally roamed over more than a hectare dur­ing the night,” Mr Nash said.

Mur­doch Univer­sity Pro­fes­sor Michael Calver co-au­thored a re­cent re­view that found a free-roam­ing do­mes­tic cat can kill on av­er­age up to 186 mam­mals, birds and rep­tiles a year.

He said while feral cats were a big is­sue in re­mote ar­eas, free-roam­ing pets and semi-owned strays were the prob­lem in cities and towns.

“There are some very big ben­e­fits to do­mes­tic cat health and sur­vival when they are kept safely con­tained at home,” Prof Calver said.

Na­tive ARC man­ager Dean Hux­ley said a sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age of na­tive fauna treated at their Bi­bra Lake wildlife hos­pi­tal had been at­tacked by cats and only about 40 per cent made it back to liv­ing in na­ture.

To find out more, visit south­west­group.com.au/ hap­py­ath­ome.

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