This may seem
like a strange article to include in a magazine
about marsupials but we have a number of
enquiries recently about cat related issues
whilst keeping marsupials, not the least of
which is a condition called Toxoplasmosis which
is a disease carried by all cats, both domestic
and feral. The following may assist in
planning your surrounds.
responsible cat ownership?
cat owners care for their cat and keep it
healthy. They prevent it from taking wildlife
and from breeding freely. They don’t let their
cat disrupt their neighbours’ lives. They
don’t feed or encourage strays but ask
neighbours if they own the cat. If not, they
catch it and take it to the RSPCA or Animal
Welfare League, or ask them for advice on how to
the benefits of responsible cat ownership?
docile, intelligent and clean companion animals.
They help teach children about responsibility
and relationships. They give affection,
comfort and companionship to their owners. The
lonely and elderly keep alert and active by
physical contact with cats.
does responsible cat ownership cost?
costs vary but are less for males than females
and overall the younger the cat the cheaper the
- a cat has 2 in the first year followed by
in the yard; cattery fees for when you are on
holidays; the costs vary.
Every new cat
incurs the initial desexing and vaccinations
costs. Once a cat gets past its first two
years, it will probably live to a ripe old
age. Desexed, confined cats have a much higher
chance of surviving the first two years than
fertile, free-ranging cats. They have fewer
injuries from road accidents and from fights
with other animals. As a responsible cat
owner, you have fewer visits to and bills from
A desexed cat
lives longer, wanders less and is easier to own
and care for and, many say, makes a better pet.
It is less likely to have the nasty habits of
fertile animals: fighting, spray-marking
territories and urinating on the carpet. Cats
are prolific breeders. In a population of
cats, if as few as 2.5% are fertile the
population can be perpetuated. More sterile
cats mean fewer unwanted litters of kittens.
Fewer strays means humans, other companion
animals and wildlife are better protected.
A female cat
does not benefit from having a litter or coming
into season before being desexed.
confine my cat?
cats may hunt by instinct. They hunt, often at
night, and often over wide areas and long
distances. This is when and why they can get
run over. If your cat is confined at night you
can be confident that your cat is safer and so
is the wildlife.
How can I
confine my cat?
have to confine your cat indoors and make your
nights a misery. Any enclosed space, a shed or
an old aviary, can be made comfortable for your
cat. You can connect an enclosed area outside
to the house through a cat flap quite cheaply.
Kittens can easily be trained to sleep in the
laundry. Confinement is not cruel as long as you
provide food, water, shelter, a litter tray, a
warm place to sleep, exercise and sunbathing
areas, and scratching and climbing places.
let your children roam the streets. Why let
your cat be run over or just run away?
I’m an irresponsible cat owner?
Your cat may
breed prolifically, adding to the already large
population of strays. If you dump the kittens
they will become feral or die a slow painful
death. What’s out of sight is still your
responsibility. If you decide that the kittens
must die take them to an organisation who will
kill them humanely. Horrible isn’t it. Much
easier to have the cat desexed.
If your cat
is confined it can’t stray and won’t get run
over. It won’t pick up diseases from other
cats. You and your children won’t have to go
through the trauma of the loss and the expense
of starting off with another cat, and another,
relations often break down over the damage a
roaming cat does - defecating, spraying, cat
fighting. Controlling your cat you will help
you stay friends with your neighbours.
Australia-wide survey showed that an average
domestic cat brings home 16 mammals, 8 birds and
8 reptiles a year. Some cats more, some less.
Most cats don’t bring everything home.
There are about 200,000 domestic cats in
Adelaide. That’s millions of animals being
killed each year in Adelaide alone. And about
half these animals are native.
How can I
help stop cats preying on native animals?
Have your cat
desexed and confine it. Encourage others to do
How can I
encourage others to be responsible cat owners?
this fact sheet. Encourage them to see the
consequences of a stray or dumped domestic cat.
Offer to help them get their cat desexed and
build an enclosure.
What can I
do to discourage cats from coming on to my
property and still be neighbourly?
If you are
sure the cat is owned, speak to the owners. If
they confine it, it won’t be a nuisance.
Otherwise, the humane ways to deter the cat
from coming into your garden are to spray the
cat with the hose, scare it away with noise,
leave moth balls or camphor flakes around your
property and spread aluminium foil at entry
But the first
thing to do is to talk to the owner about your
WHAT IS GOOD FOR YOUR CAT IS GOOD FOR YOU AND
“Cat Facts” was prepared
in consultation with the Department of
Environment and Planning, Community Education;
South Australian National Parks and Wildlife
Service Cat Working Party and Animal Welfare
Office; RSPCA; Animal Welfare League; Feline
Association of South Australia; Veterinary
Surgeons; and Researchers from the Department of
Zoology. The University of Adelaide.