Spring has sprung and many drivers in Orange will have smiled as they slowed down for a family of ducklings crossing a busy road around Cook Park and the wetland areas of Ploughmans Lane, Brooklands Wetlands and Coogal Parklands.
These little "wildlife" face an uncertain future, dodging vehicles then hiding from, or outrunning, foxes and cats which naturally see them as "dinner".
A cat tracking program recently conducted by the Central Tablelands Local Lands Services found that domestic cats regularly roam sometimes up to half a kilometre from their home.
Research also shows that nationwide, more than 377 million birds are killed by feral and domestic cats per year or 3 million mammals, 2 million reptiles and 1 million birds every day.
The benefits of owing a pet cat come with responsibilities.
The responsibility to not only protect the local wildlife, but to protect the cat itself.
Freely roaming the streets, at night or during the day, is as dangerous a life for a cat as it is for the ducklings.
Ploughmans Wetlands Care Group, with the support of Orange City Council, is implementing a program to identify cats, feral and domestic, in order to minimise the damage they are doing to the local wildlife.
If you own a cat, you can help with these simple steps:
- Supervise your cat when it is outside
- Do not allow them to wander at night
- Build a cat run so they can enjoy outdoors but be protected.
Orange City Council's brochure on responsible cat ownership can be found at https://www.orange.nsw.gov.au/pets-and-animals/ and the following may help:
- Cats trained indoors when young are usually happy to stay there as they grow up.
- Provide a screened in area to give your pet cat a taste of the outside without the risks.
- Harnesses are available for cats to take them out for exercise.
- Indoor perches near a sunny window, a ready-made cat tree and time to play with your cat every day will keep you both happy.
- Keep their litter box clean, cats are fastidious creatures and
- make sure they are microchipped and registered.
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