Managing free-roaming domestic cats is a complex problem with no easy solution, and it‚Äôs a challenge being faced by many individuals and organisations around Australia.
That‚Äôs why Australia‚Äôs leading animal welfare organisation has brought together the current and relevant scientific information on domestic cat management in a discussion paper, which is currently available for public comment
The RSPCA‚Äôs Identifying Best Practice Cat Management discussion paper
aims to build on the knowledge gained from previous work, and the considerable efforts made by governments and animal welfare organisations, to conclude how best to manage domestic (owned, unowned or semi-owned) felines.
Although many excellent organisations are working hard to determine how best to manage cats across Australia, there‚Äôs little or no guidance or shared knowledge on what‚Äôs working and what isn‚Äôt.
The RSPCA is keen to increase collaboration and implement more consistent evidence-based approaches to improving the welfare and management of cats while minimising adverse impacts.
Most domestic cats in Australia are valued as companions and pets, but many end up uncared for, and tens of thousands of healthy but unwanted cats and kittens are euthanased every year.
Meanwhile, the community‚Äôs acceptance of cat management measures such as desexing, cat containment, registration and microchipping had increased.
With this shift in public understanding of the problems and the urgent need for a solution, the RSPCA hopes this discussion paper will help shape more effective and consistent strategies in the future.
Many different organisations have a role to play in cat management.
These can include contributing to community-based activities including subsidised desexing schemes, promotion of responsible cat ownership, encourage pet-friendly rental accommodation and supporting cat adoption drives.
But of course, organisations need to know these methods are efficient, effective and measurable.
The RSPCA is seeking feedback on cat management strategies that have already been implemented ‚Äì identifying what were the objectives of the strategy and whether it was successful in achieving these objectives.
The discussion paper also contains a number of recommendations directly relevant to local government, for example.
The RSPCA hopes the recommendations resulting from the discussion paper will help shape more effective and consistent strategies in the future.