A recent survey found that pet ownership has declined in Australia. Numbers have fallen by 200,000 while the dog population has fallen by 100,000 in the past 12 months. It is unsurprising that the cat population has fallen at twice the rate of the dog population, in my opinion, bearing in mind the barrage of anti-cat articles emanating from the Australian authorities.
The fall in numbers has been put down to legal restrictions on the usual freedoms enjoyed by pet owners. In short, tough pet laws in cities. In addition Dr Chris Brown, a veterinarian and TV personality in Australia, says that people are beginning to believe that it is too hard to give a pet a happy life. I believe he means that is too hard to give a better happy life under a more restrictive regime as dictated by new laws.
Dr Brown agrees that the laws in Australia regarding cat ownership have become tighter over the preceding years.
I am pleased to note, by the way, that Dr Chris Brown agrees that Australia is too negative towards cats overall. He said:
“As a nation we are kind of unique in the world in our attitude towards cats. We’re incredibly negative towards cats overall.”
He says that some parts of Canberra are trying to become “cat-free”. This would seem to be in line with the general view of some authorities in Australia who have for a long time been participating in an attempt to restrict cat ownership quite heavily to the point where they must be kept within the confines of the property at all times if off a leash.
However, Dr Brown says that cats are able to be happy inside; therefore people should not be put off by these restrictions provided cat owners are educated on how to provide a rich environment for their cats under these conditions.
It isn’t just cat ownership which has become more restrictive. The rules surrounding dog ownership are said to be too restrictive by Lesley Pothan and Christina Erwin from the ACT Companion Dog Club
Dr Brown says that he is talking to local authorities, state and federal governments in Australia to convince them to make cities more pet friendly.
He stresses something that we, cat lovers, are aware of namely that there are health benefits to cat ownership. Kids and toddlers are able to develop a lower risk of developing allergies and asthma (through close interactions with cats). And elderly people are able to reduce blood pressure and alleviate loneliness.
He presents a far more positive view of pet ownership than some authorities in Australia, which is very welcome. It counteracts, to a certain extent, the negativity, especially towards the feral cat, disseminated by some authorities in Australia.
It is interesting to me to see the effects of stricter regulations regarding cat and dog ownership. Perhaps unsurprisingly it results in a decline in cat and dog ownership. Maybe there is a silver lining. Perhaps the people who are not really ready or suitable to adopt a cat or dog are the people who are most put off by the restrictions. If that is the case then more restrictive laws might benefit cat and dog welfare because there will be improved standards of dog and cat caretaking.
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