A new Cat Local Law limiting the number of cats allowed on premises and requiring ‘effective control’ in public takes effect next week.
The law is intended to provide significant environmental benefit to the district by enabling greater regulation and control of cats.
In Australia, 27 per cent of households have pet cats of which more than 70 per cent are allowed to roam and hunt outside.
Devices such as bells on collars may reduce the rate of wildlife harmed but do not prevent hunting all together.
According to the UniSA Cat Tracker project, each roaming pet cat is estimated on average to kill 186 animals a year including native animals, reptiles, birds and mammals.
There is an increasing public awareness of the negative effects of cats on the natural environment, and the new Cat Local Law will complement existing microchipping, sterilisation, registration and breeding controls under the Cat Act 2011.
The most significant inclusions under the new law regard the number of cats allowed on a premises without a permit or exemption.
This will be limited to two cats, and all cats much be under ‘effective control’ in public which means they must either be held, securely tethered, in a cage, or controlled by other means to prevent escape.
Limiting the number of cats per household to two cats and having cats under effective control in a public place or contained to their home property will greatly reduce the opportunity for hunting and the impacts hunting has on native animals.
A permit can be applied for to operate a cattery.
City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said the City would employ an education first approach over the coming months to ensure cat owners meet their responsible pet ownership obligations.
“Initially, education will be used to encourage compliance by cat owners before moving on to official warnings and then formal enforcement if necessary,” Mayor Adams said.
“The aim is to obtain willing compliance by cat owners, rather than enforcement, to ensure their cats are kept in a manner that keeps them safely on their own property while avoiding detrimental impacts to nearby properties and native wildlife,” she said.
The Cat Local Law takes effect in the City of Kwinana from 13 April.