How good would it be if we could permanently reduce the number of free-roaming urban stray cats in our communities without harming them? PetRescue is supporting research that can help cats, wildlife and benefits communities across the country!
❌ The problem - What’s not working?
Shelters are filling up with cats that will never be claimed
Shelters, a huge financial investment for most councils, were designed to keep lost pets off the streets and safe until reclaimed by their owner. Instead, today shelters are overflowing with cats that don’t have an owner to come save them. This is a disadvantage to the community as crowded shelters create a stressful environment for all pets, and vital council funds are being used to needlessly impound and hold unowned cats.
The pointless trapping and killing of cats
Every year tens of thousands of urban stray cats are killed by councils as a way of managing unowned animals, but this has never yielded the expected results.
Killing cats in a specific area has proven to be pointless as the remaining cats produce larger, healthier litters as a result of less competition for food sources. This means thousands of cats continue to be trapped and killed, only for existing cats to have more kittens that fill the vacuum.
For decades, this ineffective method continued to be deployed because trapping and killing were deemed the only solution to managing urban stray cats, but the growing population of stray cats proves that this method is in fact futile.
It’s not just about cats
Killing healthy animals impacts the mental wellbeing of the animal management officers assigned with this task, increasing their risk of occupational stress and compassion fatigue and does not provide a safe and healthy workplace.
We know what’s not working, but we also know new strategies for positive change.
✅ A solution: A New Approach
Yes, there is a better way! PetRescue is one of the sponsors of a ground-breaking trial that is turning the traditional approach to cat management upside down. And the good news? Cats, our community and councils all benefit!
Spearheaded by the Australian Pet Welfare Foundation, this trial supports research that will determine the impact of ‘targeted desexing’ as an effective and humane strategy for long-term cat management. This science-based research has been modelled on similar successful programs in countries such as the United Kingdom, United States and even here in Australia.
As part of the trial, residents of areas that will benefit the most from free desexing; those with a high density of urban stray cats, will have the opportunity to have their cats or the cats they care for, desexed, vaccinated, and microchipped for free. The trial has kicked off in Ipswich, Queensland and is already showing positive results.
It is expected that as more cats are desexed and are unable to produce more kittens, there will be a rapid decrease in the overall population of urban stray cats.
On November 9th 2020, the first unowned urban stray cat was desexed via the trial and returned to their outdoor home. Current Australian legislation does not allow for stray cats to be given veterinarian care including desexing, but the program was able to achieve this feat by obtaining a “Restricted Matter Permit (QLD)” to include urban stray cats in the trial - a first significant step toward reducing the free-roaming cat population.
The trial is already having a significant impact on cat numbers in Queensland’s Ipswich community:
How you can get involved
Desex your cat
Are you a cat owner who resides in Rosewood, Goodna, Redbank Plains or any other suburb in Ipswich? You can register your cat or a cat you care for, free! Join the waitlist here.
As a group of people that love pets, we are proud to be a part of research that can keep them safe. Looking at the success these programs have had, we believe that targeted desexing can profoundly impact the way we manage cats in Australia.
^Data as of April 2021.
*One adult female cat has an average of three litters per year with an average of four kittens in each litter. This equals 12 kittens per adult female cat in one year. Approximately 50% of kittens born will be females. Since cats can begin reproducing from four months of age, it can be assumed that two female kittens from the first litter could have two litters of four kittens each, equalling eight kittens in that same 1- year period.