Thursday, March 04, 2010

who's for cats

Yesterday I went out to visit the Coldstream Animal Aid centre as part of the Who’s for Cats campaign being run by Victorian Animal Aid in partnership with The Lost Dogs’ Home, RSPCA Victoria, Cat Protection Society and Lort Smith Animal Hospital.

Me with Debra Boland from Animal Aid in Coldstream. Debra says, "more cats desexed now means fewer kittens ending up at our shelter or born into a life of suffering and disease."

These agencies are offering to desex and micro-chip ‘semi-owned’ cats at a discounted rate for people willing to take full ownership of the cat.

‘Semi-owned’ cats are defined as cats that wander the neighbourhood and are fed by different people, but don’t have a home or owner.

Each year thousands of cats need to euthanised because not enough homes can be found for them. Semi owned cats can become part of the feral cat population and wreak havoc on our precious wildlife in Yarra Ranges.

From 10 April this year, all cats being registered with Council for the first time must be desexed (please note exemptions may apply on veterinary advice).

Compulsory desexing is one way Council can assist the
‘Who’s for Cats’ campaign in reducing the amount of unwanted cats in our community. Cats can have their first litter when they are as young as six months of age and their population can escalate rapidly.

I encourage the community to support the
‘Who’s for Cats’ campaign. Desexing your pets forms part of responsible pet ownership, just like registering and microchipping.

If you do have a new kitten, please visit your vet and make arrangements for your pet to be desexed, or if you are one of many people feeding an unowned cat, consider taking full ownership of it and having it desexed and microchipped as part of the campaign offer.

The ‘Who’s for Cats’ campaign will run throughout March. For more information contact Animal Aid on 9739 0300 or visit or the ‘Who’s for Cats’ website.

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At 1:56 PM, Anonymous CatLover said...

Who's For Cats is a government backed cat-kill campaign that has given carte-blanche to the trapping and killing of cats, and made compassion illegal.

Samantha Dunn - you have been conned into becoming a cat killer.

I like this blog - it somes up the scenario.

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Samantha,

I've just read your blog and I just wanted to thank you for taking an interest in the welfare of cats in Victoria.

Unfortunately, the Who's for Cats campaign is not as rosy as it is made out to be. A recent campaign review** revealed that only a tiny percentage of semi-cat owners have taken the opportunity to either fully own, or impound these cats. This is because, overwhelmingly, Community Cat carers already have cats, and that the cats themselves are often not suitable to be housepets. Semi-owned cat feeders also are unlikely to hand the cat in for disposal, as they are aware that shy and feral cats are almost universally killed by shelters.

What the campaign review did reveal was that the campaign mostly empowered 'cat haters' in the community, rather than semi-cat owners:

"Focus group research results provide further evidence that the majority of people taking action were not the semi owners of cats themselves, but rather members of the wider community who were experiencing nuisance associated with unowned cats. Focus group participants thought the “Who’s for cats?” campaign gave people ‘moral permission’ to have stray cats impounded."

"This finding has emphasised the importance of communicating to the 'Daves' in the community, i.e. the people who are not semi owners of cats themselves, but who are experiencing nuisance associated with unowned cats, and are therefore likely to respond to campaign messages about the need to have these cats impounded. In the short term, it is the 'Daves' who are affecting positive change by getting unowned cats off the streets, preventing future breeding."

While it might seem like a positive to have the 'Daves' in the community trapping cats (Dave is a character from the advertisements), empowering those who dislike cats to take action, results in increased instances of cat abuse, inappropriate methods of killing and the targeting of owned cats by those who simply don't like having them around.

Culling cats when there is a stable breeding population of half a million who will quickly return is inhumane simply because it is futile. Culling cats has never worked to reduce their numbers long term, because of the 'vaccum effect; cats simply return to sources of cat-support like garbage tips. Overseas more holistic programs have been implemented which included high-volume free desexing for semi-owned and colony cats (returning them, rather than demanding someone 'take them home'), the focus on desexing for low income areas in the community and programs which support cat colony carers in an effort to desex all the cats in their areas.

Empowering cat-haters and spurning cat-carers is not the way to reduce shelter killing.

** The campaign review referenced can be found here:


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