Residents in Bicton are clashing online after the City of Melville announced a new cat trap program.
According to the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attractions, cats are a major destructive problem in Australia, killing an estimated 3 million mammals, 1.7 million reptiles, 1 million birds, 2.8 million invertebrates, and over 330,000 frogs every 24 hours.
The traps are part of a five year plan by DBCA to combat and crackdown on feral cats.
The Cat Haven in Shenton Park one of the largest cat shelters in WA, and supports cat trapping.
Amber Ashford from Cat Haven says the organisation works closely with a number of councils by helping to rehabilitate and rehome feral cats.
“Once the council has trapped the cats, they do a seven day hold period with the council, and then they give them to us, and we start the process of getting the cat healthy and up for adoption,” she says.
Amber Ashford from Cat haven is pro cat containment. Video: Josh Miller.
A recent post in the Bicton community Facebook group has highlighted divisions on the project, with some cat owners in the area concerned about what the traps might mean for their beloved pets.
Melville councillor Karen Wheatland says the program is good for the city to try and contain the feral cat population.
“Any cats that are caught and not microchipped are taken to the Cat Haven, and I guess the ultimate goal of the trapping is to reduce the numbers of feral cats and stop them from breeding,” she says.
The implementation of the feral cat strategy led by Environmental Minister Reece Whitby aims to reduce and eradicate the problem the cats have on Australian wildlife.
“Feral cats were declared a pest in WA in 2019. They carry diseases and are expert predators hunting our native animals,” Mr Whitby said in a statement.
Mitchell Rudrum is a cat owner in the City of Melville and admits he’s a bit wary about the traps and what it might lead to for his and other domesticated felines in the area.
“The traps probably aren’t great, even though it might be for the right reason, if cats like mine get out they’re a danger of walking into these traps and getting hurt or picked up,” he says.
Amber Ashford from the Cat Haven demonstrates a cat trap. Video: Josh Miller.
Bicton resident Naomi, who asked not to be named due to fear of backlash from cat owners in the area, says all cats in the area are a nuisance, and are able to roam around freely killing wildlife, and she is sick of having to pick up the remains.
“Dog owners have to keep their dogs contained yet cat owners do not. Dogs don’t hunt like cats. They don’t breed like cats,” she says.
For more information regarding cat rescue, trapping, and shelter you can visit the Cat Haven website at https://www.cathaven.com.au