Victoria’s first comprehensive Cat Stewardship Strategy to encourage responsible ownership and support better welfare for cats and native wildlife is being developed by the state government.
Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas visited the Cat Protection Society of Victoria in Greensborough to announce the development of a 10-year statewide strategy, funded by $1.3 million dollars from the 2022/23 Victorian budget.
Ms Thomas said cats were beloved pets for many Victorians, but also a threat to native wildlife and biodiversity.
“We need to make sure that we are supporting the welfare of cats as well as our precious native wildlife as best we can,” Ms Thomas said.
“Although Victoria has high rates of registration and de-sexing, we also know that we have a high number of ownerless and feral cats.
“That’s why we’re working on implementing the first chat management strategy.”
Cats have become a significant problem in Campaspe County as an overcrowded animal shelter needs an upgrade to handle an increasing number of strays.
Managing cats is a big and complex issue.
There are over 224,000 registered cats in Victoria, with many more unregistered, ownerless or feral cats in our urban and natural environments.
These cat populations can overlap – sometimes in areas of high biodiversity – creating animal welfare and environmental issues, as well as challenges for local communities.
Animal welfare organisations, such as the RSPCA, will play a key role in developing the new strategy.
Ensuring that more cats are desexed is one of the RSPCA’s main advocacy goals.
Victorians will also have the chance to share their views and ideas through extensive stakeholder and public consultation.
This will include focused discussions with key groups including councils, animal shelters, rescue groups and public land managers.
In addition to developing a statewide cat stewardship strategy, the new funding will support education campaigns and grants to encourage cat containment and promote responsible cat ownership.
The Cat Protection Society of Victoria is a non-profit animal shelter and veterinary clinic dedicated to felines that has been in existence for over 70 years.
He takes care of more than 1600 cats a year and repatriates them to give them the opportunity to have a loving, safe and healthy home.
Cat Protection Society of Victoria chief executive Ian Crook said more than 1,600 stray and abandoned cats seek shelter and are cared for in adoption shelters each year.
“We are working hard to make sure everyone is relocated and can live a healthy life with a loving family,” Mr Crook said.