News from WA – cat desexing set to become mandatory, and some terrific ideas from Cat Haven

Cat Haven reports that the WA State Government is looking at introducing a bill later this year for compulsory sterilisation of cats and kittens, together with compulsory micrchipping. When the Premier, Colin Barnett attended the annual wet nose day last November, he made the address that mandatory sterilisation was needed to help solve the problem of the number of cats and kittens going through Cat Haven’s doors each year, particularly since 68% were euthenased.

Interview with Roz Robinson, Operations Manager, Cat Haven, Perth

DRP: How did this Bill come about?

RR: “The Desexing debate really came to the fore when Premier Colin Barnett opened Cat Haven’s annual open day in late 2008. He was asked by the media who were in attendance, what he thought about compulsory cat sterilisation, and he said he agreed with it. From there, he referred it to one of his MP’s Joe Francis, to draft the bill.  Joe is currently working on it, and is hoping to get bi-partisan approval from all parties before the bill is raised in Parliament. We are hoping it will introduced early in 2010.”

DRP: What will this mean for Cat Haven?

RR: “ For us, we have a basis to work from. It won’t fix the whole cat overpopulation issue, but it will mean, that any kitten of a certain age, (still be worked out) will have to be desexed, whether it’s from a shelter, pet shop, or free from a newspaper. Pet Shops that don’t include sterilisation as part of the sale of kittens, are a major contributor to the over-supply of kittens.”

DRP : what does Cat Haven think about TNR in the Australian context?

RR:“Cat Haven doesn’t support TNR in WA. We believe, that people should start to take ownership of a stray that they have been feeding, bite the bullet and call it their cat. For us, some of the issues are :-

  • What if the person supplying the food source moves on
  • What if the cat gets sick or injured and in need of treatment-once a cat has been trapped, it is more than likely to be trap shy, and impossible to trap again
  • Potential FIV (Feline Aids)

 Note 1: We also heard that the City of Joondalup has recently passed a mandatory sterilisation law that will be implemented shortly. It was exciting for us to hear that individual Councils CAN pass mandatory desexing laws, without State wide legislation

Note 2: Did you know that in Perth, NO COUNCIL will take in cats? In addition, the RSPCA in WA “handball” the majority of cats that come their way to Cat Haven. This has resulted in Cat Haven needing to take in over 9,000 cats per year! We learnt that Cat Haven has had to bear the brunt of the cat explosion over past years, and yet receives ZERO in any Council funding.

DRP Comment: Roz Robinson, the Operations Manager at Cat Haven made an important presentation at the Summit to end pet over-population earlier this year. You can download this paper here.

It contains simple yet important strategies that Cat Haven are now adopting to increase their rehoming rates. One in particular we like – contacting all the ‘free to a good home” ads for cats in the local papers and offering to take the kittens providing the owners get their female desexed. They also managed to get some of the local Councillors into witness a killing of a cat and kitten, and as Roz says “they left white and shocked. No amount of statistics could have the impact of what they witnessed. A visit speaks a thousand words” And one of those Councils is now introducing its own cat laws.

It seems that Cat Haven has now said “enough is enough”.  Read this important paper here, and pass it around to as many as you can.

Cat Haven: Sign up to receive Cat Havens regular and informative Newsletter, Cat Chat

DRP Comment: it seems that Cat Haven have now said “enough is enough” and have come up with some clever and practical strategies to turn the situation around’. Congratulations to Roz and Cat Haven for their efforts.

Actions you can take: Download this important paper here and distribute it far and wide. Take some of the strategies to your own local shelter or Council. Let us know how you get on!

What are your thoughts on Cat Haven’s Strategies and successes?

Do you live in WA? Please send us your local news!

4 thoughts on “News from WA – cat desexing set to become mandatory, and some terrific ideas from Cat Haven

  1. Jenny Robertson December 3, 2009 / 2:49 pm

    Well it’s about time SOMEONE applied the most common sense answer to this mess!! Make desexing mandatory!!!!!!!!Thank God!!!and the people who are fighting for this.
    I have worked as a Vet Nurse and a volunteer in animal rescue for the past 15years so clearly I am an animal lover. I own 4 cats myself and would love a million more but I am a responsible citizen and pet owner and as Cat Haven says “enough is enough” – the killing MUST be stopped and this can only be done by making owners responsible for their pets. PART of this responsible pet ownership is DESEXING – and for dogs also!!! Microchipping is another essential and if Governments subsidise these programmes initially, they will ultimately save money when the cost of running council pounds diminishes substantially due to a decrease in the number of animals. Just simple common sense. Bring it on!!

  2. Kathleen Chapman December 3, 2009 / 6:42 pm

    Mandatory desexing is not effective in reducing the number of animals that end up in pounds. On the contrary, it empowers Councils to impound and kill more animals. The main reason that people do not desex their companion animals is cost. The way to address this problem is to introduce low-cost, high-volume desexing programs, funded by councils. This will result in fewer animals killed and reduced animal control costs for council. Moreton Bay Council in QLD has recently introduced a “Snip and Chip” program, which enables people to have their cats desexed and microchipped for just $10 (see In the United States, communities such as Tompkins County, New York, have achieved No Kill (i.e. no healthy or treatable animals companion animals killed) WITHOUT the use of mandatory desexing legislation. For more information, see

  3. Margaret Dalziel January 3, 2010 / 12:19 pm

    Once upon a time mandatory desexing was thought to be the way out of the tragedy of euthanasing thousands of animals.
    It was briefly one of my own when I listened to people who I thought must have more right to believe it than I did, i.e. those on the frontline of animal rescue.

    Then I started to wonder why councils would focus on this aspect whilst ignoring the many colonies, factories over run with cats and kittens, people complaining of stray cats unable to be caught having kittens under their house or in their shed , cats living down the drains and coming out to steal the food of domestic owned cats.
    What help did they get from the councils? The answer ‘hire a trap and take it to the pound’.

    The common assumption is that these cats are the discarded pets of irresponsible people but that theory does not hold up anymore. Unfortunately that component of discarded animals does exist but it is by no means a true reflection of the situation.

    Jenny Robertson calls herself a responsible pet owner and justifies the fact that she only has four cats to prove it. How does that prove anything?
    I’m quite sure you care so look at the available information on mandatory desexing available now and the way it has increased the death rate in pounds where it has been introduced. In some councils it is just a play for power by warped individuals who don’t even particularly care about the tragedy of street cats.

    TNR has many critics and granted there are just as many drawbacks for such programs if they are done incorrectly. Colonies should not be maintained by ‘one person’, they need a team of people who can cover for each other and work together. The idea of the cats being ‘better off dead’ belongs to the dark ages.
    What if they do ‘get sick or injured’? How many domestic cats get sick or injured and can’t be found for vet treatment?
    FIV is also a fact of life amongst cats, many domestic cats who have been desexed can still have FIV without their owners being aware of it. Desexed domestic cats still do fight and injure each other.

    The reason most cat owners desex their cats is because it makes it easier for them! they don’t have kittens to rehome, or male cats spraying and fighting. The reason many of them don’t is because they cannot afford it and some don’t want to afford it.

    If you want to congratulate councils on progressive thinking congratulate those councils introducing real initiatives such as Sutherland Shire in NSW, Moreton Bay QLD and Mt. Alexander Shire in Victoria.
    If you want to perpetuate the killing keep talking about mandatory desexing.

  4. cherry @ cat sterilisation Society/WA February 11, 2010 / 3:11 pm

    Checking on the San Meteo mandatory desexing laws introduced in 1990 the euthanased cat numbers have gone up in other words people are taking in the abandoned cats to so call refuges instead of rehoming them.
    New pet owners need a source of cats/kitten and to go to a refuge is absolute pain
    Dysfunctional families who allow their cat to breed and then home them with equally dysfuncional people need a lot more help than laws
    Our cat sterilisation subsidy scheme (since 1989) is under utilised and the scheme is not supported financially by the cat loving public
    Our subsidised cat sterilisation program (since 1989) is under utilised

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