Protect your cat, protect your wildlife.
Have you noticed that there are no longer any small birds or lizards in your garden? Do you miss the sounds of the bush? Do you or your neighbours own a cat? Australia's wildlife is both unique and special. The many kinds of marsupials, birds, reptiles and frog living in this country evolved in an environment that did not include cats. Cats are introduced predators with which our native wildlife cannot live. While native predators do exist, these have evolved in a way that preserves a natural balance between animals, plants and the land. The relatively recent addition of cats to our environment has upset this natural balance because cats are very efficient destroyers of wildlife.
There is about one cat for every household and one for every five people. In built up areas there can be over 40 cats in each suburban block. There are too about as many stray and feral cats as there are owned cats. There are too many cats in Australia and the numbers are increasing.
All cats kill wildlife, even well fed cats. On average each pet cat kills 25 creatures a year; this adds up to 100 million creatures every year. Feral cats eat the equivalent of 7 bush rats each week, over 400 million creatures a year. Most wildlife killed by roaming pet cats is often caught just outside the back door. All cats, including your pet cat, hunt by instinct. Often a captured bird or possum will appear undamaged but almost certainly, it will die within 36 hours from shock or infection. Cats' mouths are hotbeds of bacteria. One bite to a native animal leads to rapid spread of infection against which it has little resistance. Cats carry toxoplasmosis, a protozoan disease which can devastate wildlife populations.
Cats will kill some rats and mice. However, as cats need a continuing supply of food, it is not in their interest to kill all the rats and mice.
Having a cat is no deterrent to snakes and cats can be killed by them.
Cats and wildlife cannot live together. Cats reduce wildlife populations by predation, disease and competition. Even the presence of cats is enough to drive wildlife away. When combined with habitat loss and failing natural processes, Australia's wildlife is struggling to survive. Keep cats and wildlife apart.
Well cared for cats can be wonderfdul companion animals, but:
* roaming cats can annoy neighbours.
* noisy cat fights or mating cats are disruptive to the nighttime neighbourhood.
* uncontrolled stray and feral cats are a serious community problem.
* wildlife cannot survive increasing predation, competition and disease from cats.