THOUSANDS of cat owners are breaking the law by not having their pets registered or microchipped.
It is mandatory in NSW under the Companion Animals Act to have a dog or cat registered and microchipped.
While more than 20,000 dog owners in the city comply with the law, just 4665 cat owners have registered their animals with Orange City Council.
“There could be double that number in Orange that are not registered and microchipped,” Orange City Council spokesman Allan Reeder said.
Orange veterinary surgeon Geoff Freeth said 90 per cent of cats that came to his surgery were not microchipped, making it difficult for identification if an animal is brought in injured.
RSPCA Orange Shelter manager Marissa Clifford supports the view.
“We get far more cats than dogs coming in here who aren’t registered or microchipped and it’s sometimes impossible to find their owners,” she said.
Mulberry Lane Vet Clinic veterinary surgeon Judith Carney said many of the cat owners in Orange were “flying under the radar” and not microchipping or registering their pets to comply with the law.
“In my experience it seems that cats are less likely to come under notice on the streets for causing trouble,” she said.
“I think many dog owners are fearful of heavy fines and reprisals if their dogs are caught by the city’s rangers and that is why the registration rates are higher.”
Mr Reeder said the RSPCA’s cat cages were often full.
“This points to the need for residents to make sure their cats are desexed,” he said.
Mr Reeder said council had no plans to consider a proposal raised in a state government white paper to force owners to keep their cats under control by imposing a curfew.
Ms Carney said there were so many beautiful birds in the city, she did not take any chances with her own cat.
“My cat stays in at night and I would encourage all cat owners to do the same.
“We try at the surgery to educate people they have a responsibility.”
Mr Reeder said council received very few complaints about cats compared to dogs.
“So our rangers pick up very few cats,” he said.