A high-profile cat welfare organisation has backed a decision by one of Perth’s largest councils to ban felines from dozens of popular parks and foreshore reserves.
The City of Wanneroo now prohibits cats from roaming into 29 zones in the city, following changes to its local laws that kicked in midway through December.
The restricted areas include Lake Gnangara Park, Chancellor Park and Marangaroo Golf Course, Pinjar Park and foreshore reserves in Lake Joondalup, Quinns Rocks, Mindarie, Jindalee, Alkimos, Eglinton and Yanchep.
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If a cat is picked up in one of the prohibited areas, it may be seized and impounded.
Residents in the City of Wanneroo, in Perth’s north, are now also limited to keeping a maximum of three cats at any one premises.
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The overhaul was pushed through to strengthen nuisance provisions and comes off the back of community concern about wandering cats and the damage they were doing to native wildlife.
Cat Haven WA chief executive Roz Robinson told 7NEWS.com.au she endorsed the council’s decision, saying cats had to be kept away from sensitive areas.
Robinson expects a “big shift” is just around the corner when it comes to cats being contained on properties, with some councils already taking action.
“The old mindset is that it is cruel to keep cats contained,” she said.
“But it’s not good for cat welfare (to roam). They get into fights, car accidents and can be baited.”
The City of Wanneroo has banned cats from 29 zones. Credit: Kseniya Ovchinnikova/Getty Images
The life expectancy of roaming cats is about five years, while indoor cats generally live well beyond that.
There are 3.3 million pet cats in Australia, with 29 per cent of households owning one.
Roaming pet cats hunt and kill about 390 million mammals, birds and reptiles every year, most of which are native, according to PestSmart.
And those figures don’t even take into account the damage done by feral felines.
The RSPCA is another organisation that encourages owners to keep cats contained within their property boundaries, but some preparation is needed.
“Where cats are contained, steps must be taken by owners to ensure that adequate exercise and environmental enrichment are available,” the advocate group said.
“Contained cats do not have to live totally indoors. Access to an outdoor escape-proof enclosure is highly recommended as this greatly increases the opportunity for activity and stimulation.”
In WA, all cats over the age of six months are required to be microchipped, sterilised, registered with their local government and wear a collar.