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Responsible cat ownership in the Western Suburbs

The Western Suburbs Regional Organisation of Councils (WESROC) in partnership with Cat Haven are reminding residents of the obligations and benefits of being a responsible cat owner.

The 'Responsible Cat Ownership' campaign, which will run from October through to March, is in response to a report received by WESROC on regional feral animal monitoring and control project that focussed on rabbits and foxes.

The report revealed cats to be a problem affecting native wildlife habitats in the western suburbs. Thirty eight motion sensor cameras captured cats on 73 occasions, rabbits on 35 and foxes on only five. A domestic cat survey for the seven councils has since been compiled and presently, there are 2813 cats registered.

Cat owners are reminded that under the Cat Act 2011, all cats must be microchipped, sterilised/desexed and registered with the local council before they reach six months old. Kittens can be sterilised from eight weeks of age.

If not already done, residents should get their cats vaccinated and microchipped by their vet at the same time and follow up with their annual boosters. Cat Haven offers concession card holders a discount on sterilising and microchipping your cat.

Some benefits of cat sterilisation include:
• Less chance of your pet developing certain types of cancers and infections
• Lifespan of a cat is 15 years compared to only three years if unsterilised
• A less temperamental and easier to manage pet
• Reduced risk of loss or injury from cats escaping to mate
• Reduced registration and vet fees
• No unwanted litters.

It is recommended that cats wear a collar with a bell on it to help reduce the chances of them catching native wildlife. Cats should also be kept in-doors at night to prevent them from coming into contact with native and feral animals which pose a risk to their health (Feline immunodeficiency virus, and bites and scratches that can turn into abscesses).