Cats in the Hornsby Shire

Cats are cherished members of the family but they unfortunately come with a significant downside for our wildlife. The impact of cats on native wildlife is one of the most significant conservation issues in Australia.

On average, each roaming, hunting pet cat in Australia kills 40 native reptiles such as blue-tongued lizards, 38 native birds such as seed-collectors like the superb fairy-wren and 32 native mammals, such as the Ring-tailed possum, the Sugar glider, antechinus and bush rat, per year.

Cat’s Home Range

Our suburbs are now home to around 55 cats per square kilometre. That adds up to about 6,000 native animals killed per square kilometre per year in our suburbs alone. The national wildlife death toll from pet cats is well over 300 million native animals, per year.

As our urban areas interface with bushland many cats enjoy incursions into the bush. A recent wildlife cam installed on the edge of the Berowra Valley National Park found that over a period of 5 months there were 30 sightings of 4 different cats, almost all at night or the early hours of the morning.  

Cats have a cocktail of deadly bacteria in their saliva that Australian Wildlife has not adapted to. Therefore, cats don’t have to kill the animal in the attack, they only have to create a puncture wound on the animal and they will die from the bacterial infection alone (Wildlife Victoria 2015). There is a short window of opportunity to administer the antibiotic for it to have a chance of being effective.

Hornsby Shire Council recommend that you keep your cat indoors especially at night. The average lifespan of an indoor-only cat is 10 years longer than an outdoor cat.

Hornsby’s Feral Cat Policy does not require a feral cat to be held for any set length of time before euthanasia. An unowned cat is deemed feral by a vet through its appearance, behaviour and lack of a chip. However the council’s cat policy has been overridden by laws passed last year requiring councils to take a more moderate approach and hold cats for two weeks before euthanasia.

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