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Feral cats – the ultimate killer

Feral Cats
Feral Cats

With nearly 30 extinct species under its belt, and a now-official Australia-wide spread, how can this introduced species possibly be stopped?

Up until a few hundred years ago, our entire landscape was rich in wildlife of all sorts – particularly our unique mammals. A simple walk through one of our semi-arid areas would have had you witnessing scores of lizards and small mammals. At night, there would have been even more scurrying around. Australia is a special place. An isolated continent that has seen the evolution of animals unlike any others on Earth.

A camera trap captures feral cat that has killed a small native mammal. Credit: Australian Wildlife Conservancy HR
A camera trap captures feral cat that has killed a small native mammal. Credit: Australian Wildlife Conservancy HR

This story is taken from Pat Callinan’s 4X4 Adventures magazine. Follow this link to pick up a subscription.

But that changed. Until a few hundred years ago there were no foxes, rabbits, invasive ants or many other non-native pests; well there were dingos – they had been around for a few thousand years. Nor was there any sign of a cat – the most destructive of all invaders. There are only two continents on Earth that have not evolved with cats – Australia and Antarctica – but they were deliberately introduced and released by Europeans to control mice and introduced rabbits. Now a recent report by Threatened Species Recovery Hub has revealed that our continent is in fact right now 99.8% covered in them. So is it any wonder that, given our unique fauna has not developed defences against this alien predator, we are the world leaders (losers) in mammal extinction rates? Rates which are showing no signs of abating. It is a dismal outlook. The feral cat has become well and truly entrenched in Australia, and seems set to eat its way through our ecosystem.

The Predator
Felis catus. The Feral Cat differs in no way to the much-loved pet variant. In fact according to the Department of the Environment and Energy, a feral cat is defined as an animal ‘that lives and reproduces in the wild and survives by hunting or scavenging; none of its needs are satisfied intentionally by humans’. In other words, cats can readily transition between domesticated, stray or feral. Other than dogs or dingos they have no natural predators. In the wild they are predominantly solitary, nocturnal, opportunistic and mostly carnivorous feeders; almost solely reliant on live prey. They can adapt to every environment we have, from alpine to arid; and they’re reclusive, stealthy and difficult to detect. They are well equipped predators. Once mature (12 months) they will breed in any season – up to two litters per year – and if conditions are favourable, they can ‘breed like rabbits’. Each cat will eat at least two to 10 native animals per day.

A radio-collared feral cat
A radio-collared feral cat

Estimating the cat population is extremely difficult due to their wide-ranging and stealthy nature, but this recent report (derived from over 40 scientists and using data from over 100 separate studies across Australia) suggests that the population stands between 2.1 million and 6.3 million feral cats. Based off this report, which is the most earnest effort to date in recording feral cat numbers, that means at least 4.2 million (to worst case 12.6 million) mammals, reptiles, birds and other animals are being consumed by feral cats every 24 hours. Regardless of ‘exact’ population numbers there is a scientific consensus that the population of feral cats is between 1 million and 11 million.

The Prey
Over 30 mammal species are now extinct and the feral cat was a primary driver in destroying almost all of these. They had not evolved with the defences to meet the introduced threat and had become easy pickings. But it is not only mammals on the menu; birds (mainly ground-nesting), lizards, frogs and insects have all felt the impact too … and continue to do so. With any further growth of the feral cat population, it is fair to say that our ecology, which has evolved over millennia and has seen a real shock over the last century or two, seems set for more troubled times ahead. Even without the growth of our feral cat population, our native fauna will continue to decline.

Numbat, endangered by feral cats
Endangered numbat or banded anteater Myrmecobius fasciatus in the mallee woodland of Yookamurra Wildlife Sanctuary, Murray Lands region of South Australia, site of endangered species recovery projects conducted by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

The Measures
The problem with eradicating any pest is complex. Some may simply say ‘shoot ’em or poison ’em’ but the problems lay a little deeper. We are lucky to have many conservation groups (like Australian Wildlife Conservancy and Bush Heritage Australia plus scores of others) that have people who do ‘wildlife’ for a living. People who spend their lives looking for the ‘elixir’; the ‘cancer cure’ if you will. Even our Federal Government has invested solid resources to look at the issue.

The impact of feral cats on native wildlife cannot be underestimated.
The impact of feral cats on native wildlife cannot be underestimated.

Fencing, baits, ground shooting and trapping are all options that are currently being applied or have already been used. Each has its issues. Fencing requires maintenance, is subject to topography, and can act as a barrier for a small number of non-target species. Ground shooting is expensive and largely ineffective, leaving many cats undiscovered due to their widespread and elusive nature. Luring and trapping is difficult due to seasonal diets (an abundance of mammals or lizards is preferable) and particular cats simply not being interested. Baiting is subject to State laws, and has to be done carefully to ensure only target species are selected; and it also carries the problem of cats not being interested in baits. To take the problem further, a localised reduction in cats may increase numbers of rabbits or other vermin; and even reduce the number of dingos (the only predator). Everything has an effect. And this is the problem … gaining the understanding and developing a holistic approach that is effective. In most cases this means that not just the cats but also other invasive species need to be targeted for reduction at the same time – with each species having its own flow-on effect.

Today the Government and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) are all working hard to eliminate feral cats. As usual, funding is the big issue. While the Government could save millions by reducing overseas junkets and ridiculous MP super, benefits and pensions, our wildlife organisations (many of whom rely on volunteer work) could beneficially use either the money saved (unlikely) or the recognition and support of volunteers and donations.

A feral cat caught on a camera trap in the wild.
A feral cat caught on a camera trap in the wild.

The Outlook

Currently, both the Commonwealth Government and NGOs are doing some great work to reduce the feral cat problem. Multi-faceted cull/conservation programs are underway across Australia in various shapes and forms. Support is being given to landowners and leaseholders in the form of direct measures (baits) and education. The NGOs are setting up tracts of protected land and taking serious measures to protect (in particular) the currently endangered and nearly extinct animals. There are several NGOs which are purely focused on protection, and cat-free areas and islands have been set up purely for relocating and saving species from extinction (Dirk Hartog Island and Christmas Island are two examples). Nobody is making claims about ridding Australia completely of the pest. The best that can be hoped for is the continued survival and regeneration of our remaining native species.

Want more?

Further reading on the feral cat problem, the work being done and how to make a difference can be found here:

www.australianwildlife.org

www.bushheritage.org.au

www.nespthreatenedspecies.edu.au

www.environment.gov.au

39 Comments

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  • Isn’t it time we had a bounty on everything feral in this country? How many could this employ would be hard to put a figure on. Responsible application of a remuneration system would see feral animals and bird culling provide a livelihood for a lot of families both in the suburbs and country areas.
    We owe it to all our native species to get one back for them. Were’s our governments and wildlife departments when they need them.
    Lets get a “Cats to zero” and a “Myna to nil” campaign going to start with two of the glaringly obvious.

  • Feral cats and foxes are destructive and introduced meso-predators and have been largely responsible for the extinctions of 30 species of small mammals as well as many other critically endangered and facing possible extinction. One of the main reasons they have managed to breed up and take over so prolifically in Australia is because of 200 years of killing dingoes, Australia’s native apex land predator. Dingoes will not only kill cats and foxes but their very presence in the ecosystem suppresses feral cat and fox predation. Dingoes preferred prey species are large herbivores such as kangaroos. Keeping kangaroo numbers in check allows for better vegetation outcomes for smaller mammals, marsupials, reptiles and native birds thus further increasing their natural protection against feral cats and foxes. DIngoes have a positive net benefit to the environment and provide 24/7 feral cat and fox management and yet they are the most persecuted of all native species with lethal control of dingoes through shooting bounties, trapping and baiting programs being ramped up across Australia. What is required to manage the feral cat problem is immediate protection for dingoes as well as rewilding of dingoes in areas where they have been eliminated. Dingoes also suppress ‘wild dogs’ as they are very territorial and science is proving that dingoes can be a farmer’s best friend with their preference to prey on kangaroos in favour of calves or sheep.

  • Hi guys I don’t understand
    Should we kill all the cats regardless if it is feral or not
    If that’s the case I guess we could kill all the dangerous dogs 🐶
    I agree there is a problem with feral cats
    And something needs to address this issue
    But a logical solution
    And yes I have a cat as well as two dogs

  • Australia is currently under attack from 5 foreign species that are causing a disaster to our country. The fox, the rabbit, the cane toad, the crown of thorns starfish, and the cat in particular. The government and the general population are either ignorant of the current disaster or refuse to believe it because it doesn’t win them enough political points. It is here folks, it is as big as the Great barrier reef disaster we are finally talking about, and in a few years our people will look back and wonder why we don’t have all these marvelous mammals and marsupials any more. Why didn’t we act on what Harry Butler and Malcolm Douglas and Steve Irwin were telling us.
    1. In relation to the cat and the fox, we can eliminate or control them easily through offering a bounty for the pelts.
    2. We could make clothing or China would probably buy the fur (and sell them back to us in the form of hats/clothing).
    3. Our budding shooters would get great practice and be able to bring back gold medals in shooting events
    at Olympics etc.
    4. Our rare and threatened species would make a comeback and would be more often sighted in the wild, which is a great boost to tourism. There is nothing worse for tourists or visitors from other countries than coming to Australia to see our wildlife, but can’t see anything in the wild because the animals have become rare and endangered or on the brink of extinction.

    Some points to ponder, and I am sure many more suggestions to be added.

    And yes, I agree humans are a problem, but unlike the feral animals, shooting feral humans doesn’t go down too well with some people.

    I don’t hate all cats, only domestic ones that are allowed outside a house.

  • I believe all feral cats should be culled and I should be able to rid my property of any cats roaming onto it. Irresponsible owners who refuse to care for there cats properly should be fined and the cats taken away.
    We have had feral cats on our property and they can be very large and ferocious, I would fear for my children when they were small coming into contact with these cats.
    There are studies out there and cats all over Australia, domestic and feral kill about five animals a night which adds up to millions each night. What a disaster

  • We need a national program of cat registration and desexing. We need heavy fines for people who would flaunt these measures and the money that comes from these programs should put into the coffers of the control and eradication programs run by NGO’s and government and help in the establishment of safe havens for our unique wildlife. And, yes, we know it’s not the fault of the cats and, yes, we know its not the fault of every cat owner out there but if you’ve read the above you can see that it only takes a few to get away to become a major problem in a short space of time and time is running out! Prevention is much easier than the cure.

  • An old neighbor and I had a quiet agreement. We both had dogs that stayed in our yards. Roaming cats regardless of being colared or not that got trapped in our yards didn’t ever see the light of day again. If a cat is not in it’s owners house or yard at night it is roaming and predatory. Cat owners that may be offended by this will also be oblivious to the fact that most ferel cats look no different to their cute pet. Eventually the only native fauna that will remain will be those that can breed faster than cats. Like rabbits. Oops a slip up there, they’re introduced too…

  • I’m all for a calicivirus type control for feral cats and so what if a few domestic cats get the virus, there are so many millions out there they will not be missed and just maybe this would cause responsible cat owners to keep their pests inside!

  • It’s people like Toby that create this knee jerk reaction, not needed and not necessary, we are plagued by feral cats and we live in a regional city

  • Guys, this is NOT really that hard an issue, it just needs the determination and leadership. The answer? genetic engineering. A selection of feral cats are genetically modified to only produce males. These groups are released in strategic locations throughout Australia. They breed, but only males. The cycle continues and within a few cat generations the cat menace is gone!

    What about domesticated cats i hear you cry? simple, the only cats that are not or will not be affected are the Cats kept in cat runs. all other irresponsible cat owners (as about 98% of all cat owners are) will also, in time lose their killers. But since they are too lazy to look after their pets, its no loss.

    Dont forget that suburban cats kill what little wildlife is left in the suburbs. Frogs etc. so its a win win for our wildlife and for our fisheries, ever thought of the fish needlessly consumed by cats via cat food? BTW, the genetic engineering to do this already exists, it can be done now. Cats only breed with cats, there will be no cross over to other species.

  • Why didn’t it say at the start of this article, that org’s want money so they have a job to study feral cats. These people put a tag on a feral cat to study it and then allow it to kill more native animals, Just put a bullet in it and be done with it. NGO’s rely on govt and public money’s to make a living so they don’t really want to see the end of anything.

  • Hey Leo (Brisbane), nice thought on the govt funding. The main thing the National Parks need is the funding to be able to afford to take action. I know, we can get The Donald in to build a wall and charge the cats for it!

  • I am a cat owner and I can tell you where my animals are at all times. They are either in their runs or in the house. It is time for local councils to make owners take responsibility for their animals. Register cats just like dogs must be, and ensure they are contained. If an animal is caught outside the owners yard, the owner is fined. If it is found outside again, they lose it and it goes to someone who can look after it. Make the registration fees for undesexed animals too high for anyone that is not breeding animals. Subsidise desexing so lower income families can afford it. These are the ones that are more commonly set free. There is nothing wrong with cats AS PETS or in their natural habitats (i.e. wild cats, big cats). As said by other people, the problem is humans, and the sooner we do something about THAT problem, the better.

  • Obviously not an easy problem to solve but if this was a think-tank, then keep the ideas coming! Cats are not kept in by domestic fences… or out for that matter, and most cat owners know this but ignore it … Cats can move around and bread, hunt and trespass at will. So I agree that domestic pet cats must all be desexed, by Law. Breeders if not already must be lic’d and the industry highly regulated … Pay for an owners lic… and suffer the consequences if the cat is caught on the street, just like dogs. It seems like anything goes with cat ownership and as STEVE eluded to … most of the owners are not responsible enough to control their own Cat/Cats. Laws and regulation for starters.
    Then the eradication programs might make a dent.
    If the native animal movements being hampered by barrier fences is an issue, why cant caged tunnels through the barriers be built to allow for native animal movement, and be controlled by cameras with “cat recognition software”, so that if its not native, then the tunnel becomes a trap … sounds feasible.
    I’m for more Gov’t spending on this issue. Sounds like National parks and wild life services need to pay attention and open parks to well regulated eradication programs.
    I’m sure there is an industry in this for “Guided” sport shooting.
    Keep up the pressure.

  • Cats are a big problem and very destructive but they are not the main cause of extinct wildlife. Foxes are the biggest cause of our lost wildlife. On our mainland with foxes we have lost our quolls and smaller wallabies as well as the smaller mammals, in Tasmania where there are feral cats but no foxes the smaller wallabies and quolls still survive in large numbers.
    Poison is not a targeted solution as the poison moves through the carnivores of the area, years of government sponsored professional shooting is the best way to reduce numbers.
    I love cats and dogs but I firmly believe that ALL domestic animals should be desexed.

  • All very interesting the last comment about the new neighbour and cat really indicates the problem as has been suggested a number of times in the comments. It is the human fault not the cat at fault. I have a cat and it is an inside cat so not an issue. We made a decision that when we got the cat it would be an inside cat so no issue with wildlife. Yes I do like cats but also like dogs and have had a number of dogs and still have one at this time and I have dog proofed my yard so the dog does not escape and annoy other neighbouring property owners. The responsibility is with the animal owner not the animal itself.

    I consider suggestion of licencing the breeder and desexing and mircochipping of any cat sold is the way to go with killing of feral cats also as part of the solution. Hopefully with one generation of cats the problem may have solved.

  • You have hit a real nerve with this story , I will be upfront,I hate cats I live on a couple of acres and we have had our bird and lizard population decimated by cats, Our new neighbour arrived with a cat that roams everywhere, has destroyed a local wild duck population that has bred near our place for the last 8 or so years, not any longer as we found 9 baby duckling destroyed, not eaten , by this cat and also numerous other native species .our new neighbour seems to delight in his cat bringing home mutilated corpses of these animals, I have threatened to shoot this cat if I see it on my property, this in itself creates a problem for harmonious living with our neighbours, I have a large dog who also hates Cats, especially our new one next door my dog has been trained not to attack any wild life, and doesn’t, now the ducks are starting to come back all because my dog chases away the cat I think any feral animal not native to Ausralia should be exterminated on site , maybe then wil we have any chance of stopping the carnage.

  • Why cant we bring back bounties on feral animals…we have been way up in the Flinder’s Ranges and though it was hot there seemed to be NO wild live apart from kangaroos…and the big sign painted to look like a book with extinct animals and mammals recorded in it…sad

  • I had same sort of problem with a neighbour and his cat roaming free and always ending up in my roof, tired of complaining about it I called the Rangers that provided me with a cage to put out at night, mind you I live in Melbourne 20 min. from the CBD, so it’s not bush, anyway for the period that I used the trap I caught the neighbor’s cat and 3 feral ones, and soon after that I noticed more birds on our trees in the area. So the problem is widespread to the all territory.

  • Jenny, I live in a small country town and the local roadhouse managers are cat lovers.
    Its just not people in the suburbs!
    They put out leftovers and scraps for the growing feral population and even boil up rice with chicken stock for kittens if they look hungry.
    Meanwhile 200m away I have endure cats killing birds and other wild life around my house. I trap and kill all that I can, my neighbour shoots all he sees.
    They breed up to a point then I assume the council must get involved as the numbers drop suddenly.
    I like cats but do not thinks they should be allowed in Australia.

  • Always trying to pass the buck !!!
    For a start every cat and dog sold should be desexed, except licensed breeders then micro chip each
    then bait and shoot any that are found wandering send the bill to the registered owner.
    It is a small start but at least it’s a start, and as for those that say it’s cruel to kill the animals, it’s your fault for not looking after them in the first place.

  • Let me get this straight.
    You all want to kill all cats because they kill wildlife.
    Got it. Excellent idea. Sort of.

    So, why not look at the bigger picture and kill off all animals that threaten others with extinction?
    You see the irony in all this right?

    It is us HUMANS that have caused the largest number of animal species to become extinct on this planet through our sheer stupidity, rather than hunting for food as Cats do. So, therefore, if we follow the train of thought presented in most of the posts here, we should simply exterminate ourselves and solve the cause of the problem, rather than just treating the symptom … right? Then, let evolution sort out the remaining animals. After all, it is us, humans, that breed most of the cats, that later get dumped in the bush somewhere and are then forced to become feral to fend for themselves, and all because ‘Little Johnny’ grew tired of his cute cuddly Christmas present.

    Ahhh … the circle of life.

  • Wow, Interesting article and comments.

    When I was a young bloke working on a property in the Kimberley in 1963 a mate and I entered a store room (each property had there own stores in those days), anyway, we came upon a feral cat who had got in to the store but couldn’t get out. It was scary, he was as big as a full grown dog and bunched up and hissed at us when we confronted him. We let him see daylight to escape as we were concerned for our own safety. For cat lovers, this may seem an extreme exaggeration but let me assure you this animal was cornered and was ready to fight for its life.

    That is 54 years ago and one can only imagine the damage that has been done by his relatives over this time. I think that the horse has bolted and the only solution now is to build exclusion fences as they are building around areas in the Northern Territory and South Australia. These projects will not stop the devastation caused by feral cats outside of these protection zones but it will at least provide habitat and breeding sanctuaries for some of our endangered species.

    For city people this is not an urban problem, this is a major Australian environmental catastrophe .

    Cheers,

  • Well said Glen but not just in the wild. If they are on your property and repeated requests to your neighbors to control their cats fall on deaf ears then shoot them (the cats) also.
    Steve you are right, humans are the problem but you are dreaming if you think every cat owner is going to do the right thing. It comes down to this: If a cat is roaming wild whether it is feral, or domestic outside its owner’s property it needs to be humanely killed along with rabbits,foxes,camels,donkeys,horses,dogs,deer,pigs…………

  • about 30 years ago a naturalist named Harry Butler pointed out the problem with feral cats. His solution was to develop a virus that will kill cats, also to develop a vaccine to the virus that would be given free to people with desexed cats only. The only people allowed to breed cats would have to have a license. The outcry against this was vociferous to say the least.
    I think I got it right my memory is not the best. Also I hate cats.

  • Years back when the fox was worth shooting, during nightly spotlighting we never drove past a cat. They were shot on the ground, hiding in rabbit holes and up trees.

    This reduced the number of feral cats in the area and within one year we noticed the bird life coming back. The solution is simple, shoot every cat you see in the wild.

  • Its amazing all the comments on here and yet not of you are smart enough to see that humans are the problems and your solution to everything is destroy, remove or kill it. Why don’t we start shooting all the feral humans, that in its self will reduce cat numbers as most of these cats came from these people who can not look after pets or children and yet we still let them breed.

    As mentioned in the article it was humans that introduced all these species like rabbits, foxes etc etc because they wanted something to hunt and some fun. Then they thought they could introduce cane toads to eradicate a beetle and other fauna to deal with other problems….the problem is the comment element is humans. Remove them and all the problems will be fixed….oh wait just keep letting our governments act for us and we will all be eliminated soon enough anyway.

    Yes I am a cat lover however I also understand that we can not have feral cats and they need to be destroyed but lets stop treating the symptoms and treat the cause….HUMANS inability to be responsible.

    I have had cats for years and I act in a responsible way and I can tell you how many birds my cats have killed on 1 finger in 15 years. Thats because I am responsible….

    Steve

  • Ban all cats. Quickly faze out the breeding of all domestic cats. At the same time rather than spend hundreds of millions developing laser super soldiers (as per an article in the Courier Mail today 16 March 2017), we can either stop that program or redeploy the non operational army to eliminate these cats. Better still I like Sam Purcells idea of cutting back on goverment pollie pensions and junks etc (hell cut back on 3 levels of goverment, why replicate things twice!) and use the savings to save our native animals. Put a commercial value on cats by putting the dead feral cats to use in dog food. So many cats, so few recipes!

  • Many years ago, my neighbour was a fox shooter in Victoria who would shoot two or three hundred foxes every winter. He also, by default, shot any feral cats he came across while hunting foxes. He once showed me a feral cat skin that was twice as big as his biggest fox skin. He only skinned it to show people and prove how big they could get 3 or 4 generations later in the bush. It was a very sobering sight indeed.

    Even closer to home, my sister had a cat in suburban Melbourne. Her cat was catching anything and everthing in her yards – lizards, mice, and lots of birds – many of them natives. I told my sister to put a bell on his neck collar, but he still caught stuff. With about six bells on his collar, he still caught stuff – my sister found out why when she spied him on the hunt through the kitchen window. He would squash his chin down onto his neck, effectively squashing and muffling the bells into his fur. He was still the silent hunter /killer – nothing stopped his drive and determination to hunt. I was very happy when that cat died (cancer I think).

  • I live in the country and feral cats are a problem unfortunately do gooders get distressed when I say that all cats feral or domestic inc the foxes all should be destroyed on the mainland of Australia inc any islands. There is no room for these animals

  • I am afraid I am not a cat person, they approach me straight away, which I am sure is a way of trying to win me over. I agree something should be done about these animals feral or domestic. I breed native birds, which is going to be the only way these are going to be viewed in the near future, in captivity. Domestic cats visit often in the night, which is stressful for the animals.

  • There’s a few issues there.
    To answer your question, Marion – I’m not exactly sure. In fact I don’t know if there really has been any shift in attitude. As research and evidence of feral cat impact has become available, it has been circulated so the general public has been made more aware.

    To say that the RSPCA has openly campaigned against culls of any kind isn’t entirely accurate. It is something they are concerned about but, for example, the kangaroo cull in the ACT wasn’t opposed by the RSPCA but they did want to ensure it met protocols. There are certainly individuals and groups opposed to culls and feral animal control but surveys show a large majority of Australians supporting these programs. There are also different branches of government getting serious on tackling the issue. You only have to look at the information coming out of the office of the Threatened Species Commissioner, including grants for community-led control programs. Also, in Canberra new suburbs are declared ‘cat-free’ in that cats must be kept inside or in cat-containment enclosures. It is hoped that eventually this will be phased in to older suburbs – and hopefully other areas of Australia! Kangaroo Island is phasing out cats completely over the next 15 years. I’m all for culling of these pests but personally I do not agree with amateur hunting in National Parks. Recreational hunting does nothing to control feral animal populations (and in many cases, increases them). Hunting by professional shooters can work in conjunction with other management techniques.

    Unfortunately, the cats around suburbia are a very small proportion of the total feral cat population. I have been working in remote areas for many years and over that time the frequency of which I’ve sighted feral cats has gradually increased. These cats survive many kms from any inhabited area and in the harshest conditions.

  • Marian & Jez. Great comments and rationally put. I don’t understand how we blithely accept the destruction of our native wildlife by feral cats. We should be outraged! I don’t want to see us going the way of many other countries whose wildlife has either been exterminated or endangered. Unfortunately we don’t seem to have any of our elected representatives with the balls to do something about it! If they were fair dinkum they could fix the problem without too much trouble. In Queensland it is illegal to keep a rabbit as a pet; that’s a step in the right direction.

  • Sadly these animsls are occasionally fed by people in suburbia. These people encourage the cats and when they all arrive for a meal all hell breaks loose. The fight for food, amongst each other for supremacy and then the mating game. All because of sanctimonious neighbours….Adelaide

  • Hello Marion Brown,
    Not sure that we have evolved that much to protect our native fauna. There is still a large ‘poor cats don’t deserve to die’ movement unfortunately that completely undermine any effort to control feral numbers. Groups like the RSPCA, PETA and Animal Liberation Party openly campaign againt culls of any kind neglecting to examine the massive destruction being carried out by cats. Law abiding firearms owners are being labelled ‘cat murderers’ and cannot be trusted with a 7 shot shotgun or silencers used for feral animal work so we don’t go deaf. We cannot hunt ferals in national parks in all but one state.

    Cat ownership in Australia should be outlawed and enforced with huge penalties, only then can we say our government is seriously interested in tackling the cat issue.

  • Hi, I’m from California, where attitudes towards feral cats are swinging towards feral cats are in favor of let them all live and ignore the wildlife destruction they do. This has been pushed by the no kill movement of Best Friends and other similar organizations like Alley Cat Allies. Now that the public in Australia is starting to support saving their unique species from predation by introduced species such as foxes and cats, and competition for habitat with rabbits, can anyone explain how the change in public attitudes has come about? The Australians and New Zealanders seem to be leading the world in methods and approaches to the problems of controlling destructive pests. What drives this? Is it government funding, NGOs, farmers losing productivity, or what? Very curious about how attitudes are changing and what drives it.