Australia: restrictions on cat ownership had no impact on wildlife in one study

There is a lot of talk and action in Australia about how to control domestic cats; to essentially restrict ownership and the movement of cats. The objective: to reduce the cat’s negative impact on wildlife numbers. Depite a lack of unequivocal evidence the Australian authorities firmly believe that both outside domestic cats and feral cats decimate native species.

Australian cat hunting
Australian cat hunting
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A survey carried out not that long ago concerned four areas of the City of Armadale in Western Australia. The end result was that cats may not be the culprits.

In the area studied the prey species were: brustail possums, southern brown bandicoots, and a small marsupial called the mardo (about the size of a mouse). The scientists who carried out the study considered the mardo to be the most vulnerable to cat predation.

In one of the areas in the study cat ownership was forbidden – no cats. In another area cats were under a curfew. The cats were ‘belled’ (bell on the collar) in the daytime and kept indoors at night. In two other areas there were no restrictions on cats whatsoever.

At the end of the study they found more mardos in the unrestricted areas where cats were free to roam than in the no-cat or curfew areas. Of the other prey animals there was little difference in numbers between all four areas.

Any variations in numbers was put down to the amount of vegetation. It seemed that habitat degredation or to put it in simple language, loss of habitat, may have been the biggest factor affecting the number of small marsupials.

Conclusion: the strict domestic cat control measures had not resulted in any benefit to wildlife. Despite this Australia is introducing cat ownership restrictions in some states. It is a slow process of change. Of course we all know about the draconian measures the Australian government have proposed to eradicate feral cats. When these propals are published online the usual response is uproar both internationally and locally. The methods suggested are inhumane and ineffective.

Source: Cat Sense by Dr Bradshaw. Get this book. It is great.

10 thoughts on “Australia: restrictions on cat ownership had no impact on wildlife in one study”

  1. I agree with Michael on this topic. The Australian Government, for whatever insane reason, is turning a blind eye to any research that goes against their “policy” to eradicate feal cats. 🙁

  2. A seriously flawed study being promoted and shared by people who have a seriously flawed perception of the natural world, animal-behavior, and ecology.

    1) Bells on cats do not curtail depredation by cats. That alone is a blatant alarm that these “researchers” didn’t have clue-one to begin with.

    2) Populations of resident native species were not studied beforehand. They may have found more in the cats-allowed areas because there were 10 times more there to begin with and only 10% exist there now.

    Try finding some real research in-favor-of if you want to promote the existence of stray cats. Biased wishful thinking borne of ignorance is not going to make it so.

    • I don’t think this is biased. It is a study referred to by Dr Bradshaw, a respected scientist. Also the wider issues are highlighted. Habitat loss is far more of a problem to wildlife in Australia than cat predation. It seems to me that if I am biased or the study is biased, you are as biased if not more so!

  3. I’ve said before, but in other words I think Australia’s biggest animal problem (aside from government’s obsession with cats) is it’s reputation as the continent with the deadliest creepy crawlies. I know I’ll never visit there. Why aren’t they concerned about that?

    • Exactly, and though some of us know it, intentional decimation is carried out by the rest who are in denial and try to “fix” what they think is the problem that way. It’s easier on their egos, too (which may be the root problem). Personally I’m forever embarrassed being of the species that’s killing this planet.

      • The humans posing the greatest danger to all wildlife on earth are those that promote the existence of stray house-cats. People who let cats stray are just as much the cause of habitat destruction as those who don’t promote the existence of cats. Add cats into human behavior and those humans who promote cats are now killing all wildlife on the order of nearly 1000X’s more than those humans who don’t promote cats. You can’t blame habitat-loss on everyone else. You are also the cause of that, plus you torture to death billions of animals yearly with your cats. You are the most destructive humans anywhere on earth. A sad sad reality that you refuse to understand and comprehend. That’s why we have this problem. You refuse to see your own MUCH greater part in the problem.

        • Deforestation to implement cow, pig and other farming and human overpopulation / habitat in general are unbalancing the planet to the greatest degree, Woody.

          • As you ingest and feed your cats grains, beef, pork and other animals too. You’re just as much to blame, even more. You have even more carnivore mouths to feed with human produced meats and grains. Then you torture to death billions of more animals on top of that. Why are you desperately trying to blame everyone else for what you are the clearly the greatest cause?


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