Keep cats in, save wildlife

By Country News

Domestic cats are sinking their teeth into millions of Australian native animals, but a joint campaign hopes to stamp out the needless killings.

Zoos Victoria and the state’s RSPCA teamed up last week to launch an initiative to keep pet cats indoors and away from local wildlife after estimates that house moggies kill 77.6 million birds in Australia each year.

‘‘We believe that keeping cats at home is in the best interest of the cats, and of native wildlife,’’ Zoos Victoria boss Jenny Gray said, noting research indicated 46 per cent of threatened species were found in cities and towns.

‘‘When your cat is kept safe at home, our beautiful and unique wildlife is more likely to visit your backyard.’’

The Safe Cat, Safe Wildlife campaign will send out quarterly emails to owners filled with expert articles, blogs and simple, low-cost hacks to entertain cats within their four walls.

As well as the dangers cats pose to wildlife, roaming moggies can come to harm themselves because of road trauma, disease and scraps with fellow felines or brawling dogs.

‘‘A safe and happy cat means safe and happy wildlife,’’ RSPCA Victoria’s Liz Walker said.

The animal advocacy groups’ initiative falls short of proposing owners enforce a total ban on cats venturing outside, instead recommending all sun-seeking kitties stay within the confines of a controlled outdoor setting.