Australian Authorities Culling Stray Cats

The author wishes to remain anonymous

Australian proudly showing off his feral cat kill. It looks ridiculous and sad to me.

Australian proudly showing off his feral cat kill. It looks ridiculous and sad to me.

In Australia the federal government recognises three classes of cats:

  1. Companion cats
  2. Stray cats
  3. Feral cats

Everyone understands what a companion cat is, but strays and ferals are constantly confused.

I once telephoned the person in charge of culling feral cats in NSW. He held the firm belief that the cats he was destroying were strays, in other words he told me they were once pets. He said that if all companion cats were neutered or destroyed, and cat ownership made illegal; feral cats would die off along with every other cat in Australia. I think he held this opinion to justify his job, because then his job would never end. Because no matter how great an area is subject to poisoning, the area is quickly re-colonised by cats from outside the area that missed the cull. He must know this, but continues the misinformation to protect his job.

Feral cats were born feral and are rarely seen by people. All predators and their prey reach a population balance i.e. predators increase their population because prey is plentiful. The prey decreases and the predators decrease. The prey increases, then the predators increase and so on. At any one time both populations are in flux, which means culling is a waste of time and money.

The problem for strays is that they are called “ferals” by people who should no better. Most strays are dumped companion animals. They cannot live without people. They scavenge for food in bins and eat fellow scavengers, rats and mice. Strays form colonies, which becomes a problem for nearby residents. By naming them ferals, it is easy to justify culling them, but this procedure does not stop people dumping cats or solve the problem.

An independent member of State Parliament is aware of the problem and is trying to have stray cat control made a responsibility of state government rather than local councils. This may be difficult, as a conservative state government is trying to shrink government services.

At present, cats are being demonised for being ferals, strays, and even companion animals by those ignorant people who believe them to be the source of ferals and strays.

The answer is education of the public, but there are no funds or interest in such a campaign, and the media is quick to do stories on the feral and stray problem.

Photo: from http://www.sportingshootermag.com.au/

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Comments

Australian Authorities Culling Stray Cats — 10 Comments

    • As an Australian who is deeply saddened and disturbed by the absolute havoc that feral cats have caused to a large number of native species, the only problem I have with the above photo is that is does not really represent an efficient way of dealing with the feral cat problem we have here.

      I won’t go into the detail here, we all have the internet to do research, but let me say that there is no way that, in Australia, an introduced species like the domestic cat (millions / billions of animals across the world) should take precedence over the completely unique native animals that exist in Australia. A number of species have been made extinct by cats, a number are thought to have been made extinct by cats, and a great number are threatened with extinction.

      Think about that the next time your “sweet” vicious little killing machine leaves a pair of bird wings (or whatever) on your back doorstep……

      • Hi, thanks for commenting. There are At least 3 problems we have with stray cats the first of which is that some of them are pets. People can’t just shoot pets. Second, there is no solid scientific data on predation on wildlife by cats. Available info is extrapolated from small scale studies. You can’t decide on major culling program’s based on guesses. Thirdly, people put the cats there. It is therefore our moral duty to deal with stray and feral cats decently and humanely. To shoot them for sport is crude and uncouth in the extreme.

        • Hi Michael.

          Re your comment on pets, yes absolutely agree that bogan (look it up…) cat-hunters rampaging through suburbia is not the answer. However the problem is “feral cats”, by definition not pets.
          Agreed that the problem needs to be solved humanely on a large scale, and shooting is not the answer – too inefficient.

          However, your comment on no scientific data is just, well, I don’t really know what to say. This comment ranks right up there with “there is no scientific evidence to support that smoking is harmful to humans”, or ” it has been proven that wearing a helmet does not substantially decrease a motor-bike’s risk of death in a crash”, etc, etc.

          I get that you are a cat lover, however I don’t think that you fully appreciate the feral cat problem here in Oz. They are not “strays”, ie they didn’t once have an owner and are now living out of rubbish bins in urban areas. There are an estimated 18 million feral cats in Australia with the last human ownership for 99.99% of them being many generations in the past. They live in the bush (the wild and are extremely efficient hunters in an ecosystem which has not evolved to handle such a predator, and they are causing untold irreversible damage to local fauna (extinctions, etc).

          I don’t know what the answer to the feral cat problem is, but having a viewpoint that is solely derived from the love that you have for your own pet and not the reality of the situation in Australia is misguided and irresponsible, though granted, very understandable…..

  1. It upsets me deeply that this problem of too many cats was caused by human beings, yet the cats are paying the price with their lives.
    The stray cats once someones pet, are an example, their owners let them down, made them homeless and now they are dying. Do the people who want innocent creatures killed not think they have suffered enough being homeless and hungry?
    Nature makes them want to breed, no matter what state of health they are in, so kicking out un-neutered cats makes the situation even worse.
    It’s all about killing these days, grabbing a gun and shooting innocent animals, but that doesn’t solve anything!
    Only the EDUCATION of ignorant humans will solve problems!

  2. I just find it all so sad doesn’t matter what class they fall into they still have a right to live.

    Its not difficult to understand about the different classes only if you want it to be to justify your own means.

  3. I would love to smack that smug grin off that man.
    It’s my understanding that Australia is one of the richest countries/continents in the world. Yet, they can’t figure out how to use some of their huge resources to humanely control their cat issues. The best they can come up with is to shoot or spread some sort of virus in an effort to eradicate.
    They may be rich but they’re stupid as hell.

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