Stop Cats Killing Native Wildlife: Amend the Cat Act

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We, the undersigned, call on the Western Australian State Government to amend the Cat Act to include the clause:

A cat must be kept on its owner’s property at all times, unless supervised on a leash.

When a cat is acquired by a household it is too often the case that the rest of the area acquires it as well. Cats wander into gardens and bushland to hunt, pick fights and toilet. A collared cat will quickly learn to silence its bell to prey on wildlife that has not evolved adequate defences.

In WA, cats kill native birds, reptiles and mammals found nowhere else on Earth.  Owners may think their cat is harmless because it's fed and docile among humans, yet cats instinctively hunt defenceless fauna, day and night, fed or not.

As there is no legal obligation to confine cats in WA, residents can do little but rely on the goodwill and responsibility of owners to curb this behaviour. These lax rules have grave consequences. All over WA, people wake up to savaged honeyeaters and other birds. Children cannot play in sandpits because roving cats use it as a litterbox. Cats go missing for months on end, only to be found, looking remarkably well-fed, far from home. Concerned citizens legally trapping cats are subject to vigilante reprisals.

Roaming cats negatively impact the environment and people’s lives, and the law should reflect this.

Other points to consider include:

Everyone has a right to the peaceful enjoyment of their property. When someone else’s property (a cat) strays onto another’s to use it as a litterbox and hunting ground, this right is arguably violated.

- Domestic animals do not have a “right to roam”.  Like dogs, cats must be registered, microchipped and desexed. Dogs aren’t allowed to wander, so why can cats?

- Times have changed. The devastation caused by cats in Australia, killing hundreds of millions of native species every year, is well understood.  The decline of native species where cats have been introduced has been documented for over 100 years.  It is high time the law reflects changing attitudes and love for Australia’s unique flora and fauna.

- There are millions of cats, but there aren’t millions of native species. Alarmingly, some native species such as Gilbert’s potoroo, number in the dozens. It is critical we act urgently to protect them.

- A change in the law will augment Federal Government efforts to eradicate millions of feral cats on the Australian mainland.

Restricting a cat to its owner's property supports cat health and safety. The availability of 'cat runs' and other stimulating equipment mean cats can live full, rich lives under this small yet important amendment to the Act

Without amending the Cat Act, cats will continue being imposed on people that don’t want them and wreak havoc on our precious and unique wildlife. The onus must be on those who choose to have a cat, and this can be achieved by amending the law to ensure cats remain where they belong at all times – on their owner’s property. 

What you can do now

  1. Sign the petition
  2. Share amongst your friends and networks
  3. Complete the State Government survey (feedback on the Cat Act - closes Aug 4)
  4. Write to the Minister for Local Government, Minister.Templeman@dpc.wa.gov.au in support of this change.