Cat call falls


DESPITE calls from wildlife experts to clamp down on cats in Kings Park and other nature areas, Perth council has decided against bringing in new rules to restrict roaming cats.

A lot of councils have been trying to bring in rules to keep cats out of parks and bushland but they keep hitting stumbling blocks when it comes to getting approval from the state parliament committee that oversees council laws.

Those rules may be easier to bring in once the state government fixes up the Cat Act and gives councils proper powers to handle cats.

But wildlife advocates and cat lovers alike (who want cats to live safe, indoor lives) still want councils to bring in whatever rules they can while waiting for the WA government to give the laws more teeth.

Visceral warning

Bayswater resident David Dyke, widely recognised for his conservation work recording the calls of frogs to help track their populations, attended the March 28 council meeting and gave a visceral warning of what happens when cats are allowed to roam.

“How is the City going to manage cats in many places like East Perth, where I see cats while out recording frogs, without a local law?” he queried.

“When I’m out recording in your local area I see cats meandering everywhere. Quite often I go down a pathway and there’s a scream like this: Aaaaaaaaaaaugh!”

The chamber fell silent for a few seconds before lord mayor Basil Zempilas cautiously inquired: “…who’s doing that?”

“That’s the noise of a frog!” Mr Dyke said, “halfway down a cat’s mouth! It’s excruciating!”

Perth council staff say there’s hardly a cat problem in Kings Park, with an average of one caught there each year. 

Perth resident Adin Lang is also a councillor in Fremantle, where they did bring in cat laws to keep them out of parks, beaches and riverbanks.

He’s been urging Perth council to start with Kings Park.

Cr Lang said “a single cat in an A-Class Reserve can have a devastating impact on wildlife”.

Other speakers pointed out there was no monitoring of cats in Kings Park. 

Robert Madden said: “I personally have seen cats at night in King’s Park on multiple occasions and know that the officer’s report of a single cat being caught or reported is insufficient.”

Katie Madden said “methods like camera traps [and] GPS data loggers” would give a more accurate count.

Mr Zempilas commented: “I lived for 20 years in Mount Street just down from Kings Park. I cannot remember in 20 years seeing a cat.”

The council decided to wait for the McGowan government to change the statewide Cat Act.

Mr Zempilas was enthusiastic about their ability to patch it up.

“I have nothing but great respect and admiration for the state government of WA,” the lord mayor rhapsodised. 

“We work very closely, and I have great confidence – great confidence,” he repeated theatrically, “that the review of the Cat Act 2011 will deliver for all West Australians what we need to have delivered.”

“In 2030,” a doubtful Cr Lang added.


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