I don’t really like cats. There, I’ve said it!
Two reasons: My main concern is that feral cat numbers are now out of control in Australia.
To research statistics provides frightening figures: Although the number of domestic (pet) cats in Australia is estimated at around 2.7 million, it is claimed that there are over 18 million feral cats.
The figures suggest that each feral cat kills between 5 and 30 Australian native species each day.
Think about that! Conservation scientists guess that 20 BILLION native animals are being killed each year by feral cats.
That’s 75 Million a day!
Australian Wildlife Conservancy CEO, Mr Atticus Fleming, investigating feral cats in 2014, found over 40 native frogs in the stomach of ONE captured feral cat.
My other reason is from more personal experience.
A few short years ago, when I lived in the country, we used to delight in watching a group of blue wrens who visited us constantly and lived amongst the native bushes in our garden and in the overhead spreading grape vines.
When a cat-owning family moved into a property just over our back fence, their cat paid us a few visits and decimated the entire blue wren family.
So it’s not only feral cats that kill. Pet cats also kill.
And, in a red gum reserve, about 500 metres from our country house, cats were found stalking and killing little sugar gliders. These were not feral cats, they were pet cats allowed to roam freely.
Now that I live in a more suburban setting, I am not free of cat problems. A neighbourhood cat (there may be more than one) comes and digs in our front garden and leaves smelly ‘messages’ that are difficult to be cope with. It also leaves paw marks over our car, so I know it is walking around at night time. What else is it doing? What is it killing?
Many councils now insist on registering each and every pet cat – but does that happen? And, even when it does, do cat owners make sure their cat remains indoors all day and night?
I can understand people wanting to keep a cat. They are good pets: quiet and (mostly) clean. They need less looking after than a dog; no need for daily walks and they are happy to be left alone. But…but…
We need a huge public awareness campaign about keeping cats
BUT…but…but, the other day when I was shopping in the supermarket, I watched a frail elderly man stop by the cat food shelves and slowly select and examine several small containers of cat food.
To see the concentration on his face as he took a long while to choose the appropriate dinner for his pet cat almost melted my hard cat-hating heart. And I could see how important to some people having a feline companion is. To that old man, his cat may be the only thing that keeps him content; a companion to care for and a reason for living even.
Oh, boy. What a dilemma.
But please people, back the cause for eliminating feral cats and, if you do own a cat as a pet, please don’t allow it to roam free.
I am very pleased to discover that the world's largest cat fence is now being constructed at Newhaven Station in Central Australia.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.