KILLER: Even domestic cats with bells and tags can take a toll on the wildlife.
KILLER: Even domestic cats with bells and tags can take a toll on the wildlife.

Council offers bibs to help curb killer felines

SUPPORT for a Cat Curfew to save local wildlife in Byron Shire has been overwhelming.

More than 600 expressed support on our initial social media post and a subsequent online poll revealed 85% of respondents want domestic cats kept indoors over night.

Looking at the response from locals it seems most want action to stop cats decimating the wild life

Byron Council already offers owners of registered and micro-chipped cats the opportunity to Get a Free Cat Bib and nearby Tweed Shire Council has several resources available for residents wanting to do the right thing.

Some respondents dragged domestic dogs into the frame like Solé Beatriz Fálcon who pleaded:

"I want to vote 24/7 to keep both cats and dogs contained at all times. As a wildlife rescuer we are inundated with wildlife who have been attacked by both cats and dogs. Dogs also kill koalas frequently.”

Nadine Wallace pointed the finger squarely at owners saying, "We're not allowed to let our dogs roam around or kill randomly.... Why should pet cats be any different. Be responsible or don't have them.

Most made the same heartfelt point as Gyan Evans who said, " The wildlife is too fragile to survive these masterful hunters.”

A new book Cats in Australia: Companion and Killer, published by the CSIRO revealed feral cats slaughter an alarming 740 animals per year while domestic cats kill about 75 animals annually.

The book, also says cats in Australia kill more than 3 million mammals, 2 million reptiles and 1 million birds every day and have been responsible for around 20 of our mammal extinctions over the last 200 years.

Nearby Tweed Shire Council runs education programs and social media campaigns such as Love Cats Love Wildlife funded jointly with the NSW Environmental Trust to foster responsible cat ownership.

The council is also operating a Cats On Camers program with remote monitoring cameras used in natural bushland on the Tweed Coast to find out what types of animals are using these areas.

These cameras have recorded roaming pet cats at night and in the day. Cats on Camera aims to help cat owners make informed decisions about the management of their pet cat.

Tweed Council also has some pet free areas such as Koala Beach Estate at Pottsville has a no cats or dogs policy to protect local koalas.

The council also offers a fact sheet on how to transition your outside cat to an indoor cat. Transitioning your Cat to the Indoors

In Byron Shire cats are subject to the Companion Animals Act and must have identification carrying the name of the cat and the address or telephone number of the owner.

The Council's Get a Free Cat Bib offer bibs made of wetsuit material that attach to a collar and hang over the cat's chest,.

The bibs act as a barrier and interfering with the timing and coordination cats need to hunt.

One local vet told the Byron Shire News curfews were also good for the cats themselves.

"If you intend keeping your cat indoors its best to do that from a very early age, so they are used to it” the vet said.

"Aside from protecting wildlife, it keeps the cats safe. We get a huge number of cats hit by cars, bitten by snakes and attacked by dogs and it can be very expensive for owners.”

"Cats are also more territorial than dogs so it is best to keep just one cat indoors, as there will always be one pining to get out and find their own territory.

The vet recommended plenty of stimulation for indoor cats such as toys and for owners to play with their cats.