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.

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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?

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