Categories: Audio

Speaking with an Australian lady about feral cats and Australia’s native species

Lilly lives with Sharon, the lady I interviewed.

This is an audio recording of my discussion with Sharon who is an Australian woman living in Melbourne, Australia. She also has a home on French Island which is not that far from Melbourne (see map below). French Island is largely a nature reserve and so it serves as a useful model to examine the conflict between feral cats and native species.

Sharon loves animals and has a particular passion for birds. Currently she lives with one cat, a calico, Lilly. Sharon believes in adopting from rescue organisations and disapproves of cat breeders.  She believes in confining cats to the home and the backyard in order to protect wildlife.

The main thrust of this discussion is that evergreen problem in Australia: how to deal with feral cats and their predation on native wildlife species. This is a subject which has occupied the Federal Government in Australia for a long time. It also concerns state governments. I was interested to try and find out whether Australians are as concerned about the “feral cat problem” as the government is.

As a consequence, my discussion with Sharon is about the feral cats of Australia and the difficulties that Australia is encountering in protecting wildlife. French Island is a nature reserve for bird species. It has a vital role in maintaining the population levels of several bird species in the region. As Sharon loves both cats and birds she has a natural conflict about how to deal with feral cats. We discuss this issue and you’ll find out her thoughts on this tricky problem.

The audio file runs for about 10 minutes. I hope that you can find the time to listen to the entire conversation. I have deliberately kept it quite short because I know how pressed people are for time nowadays.

Audio file

Please play by clicking the play button on the left-hand side.

French Island

Sharon is a thoughtful, intelligent citizen of Australia and I would hope that her attitude towards the continent’s feral cats is at least somewhat typical of mainstream Australia. The issue is how to deal with feral cats humanely. As I understand it, on French Island the method is to kill them using poison and shooting.

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There’s no doubt that there is a problem because feral cats do attack and eat wildlife. And the wildlife of Australia is understandably very precious to Australians.

However, one cannot avoid how Australians themselves, through habitat destruction, negatively impact the wildlife species of their continent. It isn’t just about feral cats and domestic cats who are free to roam attacking prey. I’m yet to see a comparison between the impact of humans upon wildlife compared to that of feral cats. The comparison should be made. At the moment Australians are prioritising the protection of the native species through the eradication of predators such as foxes and feral cats.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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