Why is it that cat and dog populations in Australia are declining? Are we to believe the source of the information which is Mars Pet Care Australia? I believe we can. It is said that Australians’ passion for pet ownership is gradually slipping. It may be worse than that, in fact, because in the state of Victoria there was a 14.2% decline in cat ownership over the year to December 2014. Overall there was an 11% decline in cat ownership in Australia. In New South Wales the decline was 7.9% and in Queensland it was 11.6%. Western Australia had the biggest decline of 15.8%. Tasmania bucked the trend with a 3% increase in cat ownership.
Having read the cat news coming out of Australia over the past several years there is one thing which stands out and it is this: the government’s continued sniping and criticism of the domestic, stray and feral cat. Nearly everything that comes out of the Australian press in relationship to cats is negative. There are calls to keep domestic cats inside, within the bounds of the owner’s property. There are calls to place a curfew on domestic cats so that they are kept in at night. Feral cats are completely outlawed in Australia and there are lots of politicians and local authorities who simply wish to exterminate them. Stray cats are bundled together with feral cats as an enemy of the country in that they attack native species.
My theory, therefore, is that publicity emanating from Australian media fed to them by state and federal governments concerning the detrimental impact that the cat has upon Australian wildlife has had an impact upon the attitude of people towards the cat in general. This in turn has resulted in a decline in ownership as stated in the survey.
Obviously there are many Australian citizens who don’t like what the government says about feral cats but there has to be an impact upon the mentality of citizens when the cat is criticised so vehemently and consistently by “the authorities”. They know best, don’t they? There will be a lot of people who are delighted with these statistics regrettably.