Cat ownership in WA is under siege by local cat laws newly introduced by the Shire of Swan and soon to be implemented by the City of Joondalup. Cat owners will be penalized by fines if their cat unwittingly trespasses onto a neighbours property without their permission. The ultimate penalty is the trapping of your beloved moggy by a neighbour in a trap supplied by the shire and the impoundment and possible euthanization of your cat if you can’t locate it within 7 days.
The legal trapping of cats opened up by these new local cat laws will only encourage vigilantes who hate cats to have an ‘open season’ on cats in their neighborhood. The Cat Haven, a well known Perth based cat rescue group have already reported incidences of cats caught in traps being drowned in lakes. A horrible death for any animal with no chance of escape – and astonishingly still a set of laws introduced in such poor format by local councils that policing these laws is almost impossible.
Very little forethought went into the ultimate outcomes that these laws would fester, if councils honestly thought that residents of their shire would act responsibly under these new laws they have already been witness to the folly of their naivety. With cats being drowned in traps and my own experience of having my cat Simon being trapped by a neighbour in my own street and taken to the pound with no consultation with the shire. I managed to rescue my cat Simon on Day 6, it was clearly a lucky day for him will your cat be so lucky?
Parts of these laws have validation with responsible cat ownership including limiting the number of cats per household, sterilizing cats, micro-chipping or identifying your cat with a collar & identification tag and keeping your cat indoors from the hours of 9pm to 6 am is also very doable.
What these laws fail to take into consideration is the intrinsic nature of cats and the impossibility of cat owners to always control some of their inherit behaviors which have allowed cats to survive well prior to their domestication.
Cats are highly independent creatures who value their freedom, they have instinctual drives to patrol their territory and to chase off any intruders entering their territory. Cats have very strong maternal instincts and are predatory in nature and mark their territory with their scent to keep any other animals out of their area. Cats rely on these instincts to get through life and expecting them to change these behaviors is literally asking them to stop being a cat.
Cats cannot be trained like the dog species and forcing cat owners to achieve the impossible by preventing their cats from occasionally wandering into a neighbours yard is simply ludicrous! The harsh penalty of trapping cats, impounding them and having your cat euthanized as a result is a sickening and heart breaking reality now for cat owners and their families. That this type of action is being implemented by your local shire and your neighbours is just disgusting.
You can protest against these new local cat laws by visiting www.aussiecats.com and having your say.