Council receives a number of nuisance complaints regarding domestic cat activity within the Golden Plains Shire.
A key objective of Council’s Domestic Animal Management Plan seeks to ‘provide the community with a clear understanding of Council’s expectation of pet owners’. Our team is committed to reducing documented cat nuisance complaints.
Across the Shire the majority of cat nuisance complaints relate to feral cat populations and in response Council has made cat traps available for residents with ongoing concerns. Within a residential street a cat can create a nuisance in a number of ways including cats fighting, scratching furniture, attacking or disrupting other pets, or killing native wildlife.
Several solutions are available to residents to address the ongoing problems associated with cats dependent on the level of ownership and problems presented.
Cat Enclosures - Reduced Cat Registration Fee
Owners of cats within Golden Plains Shire who have a dedicated cat enclosure, either separate or attached to their house, and where the cats do not roam outside of the enclosure, can apply to have their registration fee halved. (For new registrations, this will apply immediately. For current registrations, this will apply when registrations are due in April 2024). This program does not apply to owners of fertile cats.
The registration fee for any cat owner with an approved enclosure will be $25 per year or $12.50 for applicable concession card holders.
Complaints with townships received by Council often relate to the activities of registered cats, which if encountered by our Community Protection Officers will not be impounded unless the owner cannot be contacted or located. We are therefore relying on cat owners to assist Council by keeping cats indoors at night where possible. Furthermore, if you suspect that your cat is causing a nuisance on a neighbouring property you are encouraged to explore options for containing the cat within its yard.
Subsidised Cat Desexing Program
Council, the National Desexing Network and local veterinary clinics have joined forces to offer residents in need a subsidised desexing program to help prevent unwanted cats.
This program is free to pensioners, healthcare card holders, victims of family violence, residents on low incomes and people with too many cats to afford.
In addition, if cats are not already microchipped at the time of desexing, residents will pay just $5 to have their cat microchipped and free Council registration will be provided for the first registration period.
The program is managed by the National Desexing Network. If you need support, please phone the National Desexing Network on 1300 368 992 to find out if you are eligible. If eligible, you will be issued a desexing voucher and can then contact the vet to make an appointment. These subsidies are available while funds last.
Geelong Animal Welfare Society (GAWS) in Moolap and Ballarat Animal Shelter (PetRescue) in Alfredton have animals available for adoption. You can have a look and see if your new family member is waiting for you by clicking the attached links.
Do you have a friendly and sociable cat that comes around often for a feed and to socialise? The chances are that you may be feeding a community cat, one that is owned by no one but well socialised around people and fed by numerous community members. The problem with community cats is that with no one taking responsibility for them they are never de-sexed, vaccinated, properly cared for or registered. These unowned cats often suffer from very poor health and live in a state of starvation and disease.
If you believe that you may be one of the hundreds of people out there feeding a community cat because you care for its welfare it may be time to take some action. Firstly, you will need to establish if the cat really is owned by anyone. You could do this by asking around the neighbourhood or by catching the cat and taking it somewhere to get it scanned for a microchip. Alternatively you could ring Council and enquire about a cat trap. When the cat is caught Council officers will collect the animal and scan to see if it has been microchipped.
Once it has been established that the cat is not owned by anyone then you will have the choice to care for the cat properly by having it registered, vaccinated and desexed or by sending it to the pound with the chance of it being rehomed.
Feral cats are a significant problem within the Golden Plains Shire. In Victoria it’s believed there are 500,000 unowned stray and feral cats. Feral cats are known to kill native wildlife and are a nuisance in the community. Each year approximately 50,000 cats are impounded (only 10% of the estimated feral population), with the large majority of these euthanased. Council has made cat traps available for residents who have encountered a feral cat problem.
For more information about your responsibilities as a pet owner or the availability of cat traps please contact our Community Safety Team on 5220 7111. To learn more about being a responsible cat owner, visit the Agriculture Victoria website.