Weddin Shire Council, together with Weddin Landcare and RSPCA NSW are excited to announce that they will be offering an additional incentive in 2024 under the Keeping Cats Safe at Home Project.
From 15 January to 1 March 2024, eligible cat owners in the Weddin Shire can apply to receive a Catnets enclosure for their backyard to help contain their cat/s within their property.
“Ten thousand dollars has been allocated to this incentive, which is a terrific opportunity for cat owners to do something positive for not only their beloved pet but also the broader community and our native wildlife” said Weddin Shire Council Ranger, Allison Knowles.
The Keeping Cats Safe at Home project is a four-year behavioural change project being run by RSPCA NSW in conjunction with eleven Councils across NSW, including Weddin, and funded by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust. The project aims to reduce the impact pet cats have on wildlife and improve domestic cats’ health and safety by encouraging responsible cat ownership.
“Cat owners can now apply to receive a free Catnets enclosure with a hammock and a shadecloth that they can erect in their back yard to provide a safe and welcoming outdoor environment for their cats” Allison said.
“RSPCA NSW recommends that pet owners prevent their cats from roaming away from their property as they are at significant risk of being lost, contracting infectious diseases, being hurt or dying in an accident” said Allison.
“Figures from RSPCA NSW indicate that two in three Australian cat caregivers have lost a cat to a roaming related accident, with one in three being hit by a car” said Allison.
Successful applicants will receive a cat hammock and shade cloth with their enclosure.
A cat enclosure will allow your pet to be outside, but remain safe.
Weddin Landcare, who are working alongside Weddin Shire Council on the project have also welcomed the initiative.
“A roaming pet cat can kill, on average, around 186 native animals per year” said Melanie Cooper, Landcare Coordinator for Weddin Landcare.
“Cats have a huge impact on our native reptiles, birds and mammals, with around 390 million animals killed in Australia each year due to roaming pet cats alone” she said.
“Keeping pet cats confined to a house or backyard is not difficult and there are many different ways this can be achieved to ensure cats live a long, healthy and rich life without needing to roam” said Melanie.
For inspiration and tips on how to transition your cat to become accustomed to living inside, with controlled outdoor experiences head to the RSPCA NSW website.
As part of the Keeping Cats Safe at Home project, Weddin Shire Council have also successfully run a free desexing and microchipping program for the past two years and have combined with Weddin Landcare to deliver educational sessions to local primary schools.
“The free desexing program has been incredibly popular, with 239 cats desexed with assistance from the project to date” said Allison.
Council will continue to operate the free desexing and microchipping program in 2024, in partnership with Lachlan Valley Vets, with twenty thousand dollars allocated to this side of the program.
The free cat desexing program will continue in 2024.
Photo: Allison Knowles
“We would really like to reduce the number of unwanted litters and bring the total cat population numbers down so I welcome anyone who cares for a cat – be that the family pet, the farm mouser or the stray they feed from time to time – to get in touch and we can help arrange for the cat to be desexed” said Allison.
Guidelines and Application forms for the Catnets Enclosure program and the Desexing and Microchipping program can be downloaded here. Terms and Conditions apply. Contact Allison Knowles 0427 246 787 firstname.lastname@example.org or Melanie Cooper 0417 963 475 email@example.com for more information.