Urban cats are out of control

CUTE BUT LETHAL: Cats are one of the biggest threats to native animals.
CUTE BUT LETHAL: Cats are one of the biggest threats to native animals. File

IF EVER there was a backward step environmentally, it's the nonsensical decision by Brisbane City Council to scrap mandatory cat registration.

What is the Brisbane council now doing to control the ever-rising cat population? Nothing, it appears.

Do councillors realise how many thousands of cats are euthanised every year by the RSPCA and other animal care organisations?

The RSPCA alone in Queensland had to end the lives of 9566 cats in 2010 and 2011.

Its carers, who should be looking after the welfare of animals, weep over the bag-loads of dead cats and kittens they're forced to dispose of.

Add to that the sad fate of kittens which are destroyed inhumanely or dumped in the bush, and it's a dire situation that calls out for government intervention.

Imposing a registration fee sends a message to cat buyers that these animals are of value, not disposable objects that can be gotten rid of on a whim.

The wild cat population is so out of control, it's a wonder it hasn't attained "vermin" status similar to the hapless rabbit.

I know that sweet little kittens are adorable and that they make marvellous companion animals.

But running loose, these cute darlings are very efficient killers of wildlife and major irritants to neighbours forced to clean up their mess and listen to their fighting.

If a family chooses not to have a cat, they shouldn't have to put up with the unsavoury habits of someone else's pet.

Cat registration is one way of showing that society expects owners to be responsible.

Compared with the costs of supporting a cat for its entire lifetime, registration fees are miniscule.

Under some cat control programs, a one-off, lifetime fee is charged and cut-price fees are available for low-income earners.

Registration fees help pay for the costs involved in cat (and dog) control, which are considerable and paid for by ratepayers whether they choose to own a pet or not.

If all cat owners were responsible enough to confine their cats to their own property, and to de-sex them willingly, then legislation control wouldn't be necessary. Unfortunately, that ideal world doesn't exist.

Many councils' lukewarm approach to the initial Queensland cat registration law introduced in 2008 has guaranteed less than roaring success.

Brisbane City Council's lifestyle chairman Krista Adams says the scheme has cost about $1.8 million to implement, but has only seen 16,122 of about 111,000 domestic cats in the city limits registered.

"It was something that was forced upon us that we knew was going to be difficult. You can imagine what it's like trying to track down cats - herding cats - so we're quite happy that the legislation changed."

Ipswich City Council looks likely to follow Brisbane's example by scrapping cat registration.

Logan mayor Pam Parker, on the contrary, has given cat registration a tick of approval.

"Logan City Council is continuing with cat registrations because we found that it controlled the wandering stray cats and we've also got less dead cats on roads," she said.

Queensland governments are also dilly-dallying over making the de-sexing of cats (and dogs) compulsory.

At the same time, Western Australia is tightening up legislation with the Cat Act 2011 which requires the identification, registration and sterilisation of domestic cats, and gives local governments the power to administer and enforce the legislation.

Instead of looking at sensible legislation like that being introduced in WA, the Queensland Government has thrown its arms in the air and decided that cat control is just too hard.

Crikey, if they can't keep kitties under control, what hope do they have with bikies?


Buyers spend billions overseas

SHOPPING online is not something I've latched on to.

I certainly do research products via the click-stream, but then I choose to go and talk to a real salesperson when I offload my hard-earned dollars.

Australians have apparently spent $7.6 billion on purchases from overseas websites in the year to July.

Taking that much out of our country's economy can't be healthy for homegrown businesses.

I just hope some of that massive online trade is coming our way to counteract what we spend overseas.

Topics:  cat registration opinion vonnie's view yvonne gardiner

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