A council in Australia appears set to effectively ban cats from being outdoors unless they are on a lead.
Planned changes to laws in Freemantle, Western Australia, would see felines prohibited from all council owned areas, including roads, verges and bushlands.
Members of the council voted to approve proposals tabled by Councillor Adin Lang, on the basis it would protect wildlife and remove the risk of cats being hit by cars.
“In the 1970s dogs would roam our streets and I expect roaming cats will also become a thing of the past,” he told Perth Now.
“While we have prohibited areas in our natural bushland, cats are still entering.
“At a minimum our bushland areas need a prohibited area buffer. Many of our native verge gardens which also act as a wildlife refuge also need protection from cats.”
Speaking to Western Australia Today, he added: “This is about protecting our wildlife and it’s also about helping to keep people’s cats safe from cat fights or getting hit by cars.”
The newspaper reported that WA Feral Cat Working Group chairman Tom Hatton recently gave a presentation to the Fremantle council about why cat owners should keep their pets at home.
“There are two good reasons to keep your cat at home,” he said.
“The pressure that domestic cats that are allowed to roam put on urban wildlife and, secondly, the science that says that domestic cats that are not allowed to roam live much longer and are much healthier.
“Urban cats kill 30 times more wildlife than adult cats out in the bush.”
The changes tabled and agreed by councillors this week said: “An amended Cat Management Local Law would focus on expanding cat prohibited areas beyond our natural bushland areas, to include other refuges for wildlife such as verge gardens, median strips, and street trees.
“Other City managed assets like roads would also be included as prohibited areas to help protect the safety of individual cats who are at risk of being struck by vehicles.”
Officials will now draft a proposed amendment, which the council will then decide whether to advertise for public feedback for at least six weeks.
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