POLL: Cat is out of the bag: dog owners not the only pet lovers called to task

PURRFECT: Sylvester the cat has responsible owners in Mulberry Lane Vet Clinic employees, including Danielle Christmann, who make sure they know where he is at all times and ensure he is inside at night so he cannot get up to mischief. Photo: JUDE KEOGH          0708cats1

PURRFECT: Sylvester the cat has responsible owners in Mulberry Lane Vet Clinic employees, including Danielle Christmann, who make sure they know where he is at all times and ensure he is inside at night so he cannot get up to mischief. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0708cats1

AN Orange resident who claims her neighbours’ cats wander into her yard, is calling on Orange City Council to fine irresponsible cat owners. 

The resident asked not to be named, but said the problem of cats in her yard had become so troublesome she had bought a cat trap. 

“They’re destructive,” she said. 

“I attract native birds to my yard and they come and kill them.

“One dragged a wattle bird down into the drain.”

She said the cats urinated and defecated throughout her garden and the smell was “quite strong”.

The cats tormented her chickens and growled at each other during the night, she said.

The woman, who owns two dogs, says she is not against cats and once owned an indoor cat.

“I love animals, but I think people should pay more attention to where their cats are and what they’re doing,” she said.

Orange City Council spokesman Nick Redmond said there was a limit to what council could do when it came to cats,  because it was restricted by the Companion Animals Act.

Cats must be registered with council, but it was not an offence for a cat to roam. 

“The offence for cats is where it is a nuisance cat. To be this it must persistently cause that specific nuisance,” he said. 

A nuisance cat is one that makes noise persistently, to a degree that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any other premises.

Mr Redmond said it was hard to prove consistent noise or damage caused by a cat.

Council cannot hire out cat cages for residents to catch pest cats and take them to the RSPCA shelter, residents must contact a private pest control firm. 

The fine for not registering a cat is $165, but the cat must be dropped off at the shelter in order for the owner to be fined. 

“At the start of this year, council undertook a cat registration program with a local vet. Unfortunately the program was not well supported by cat owners,” Mr Redmond said. 

“We have in the council area 3978 microchipped cats and 1107 registered. The number of registered cats is low compared with the identified and registered dogs at around 16,800.”

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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