Caring for Cats in Alice Springs
Keeping your Cat Safe
Cats make wonderful pets, and are loved in many homes in Central Australia. However cats also are instinctive hunters. Even a well-fed cat will hunt for other animals, covering large areas.
If you allow your cat to roam beyond your property, it may be injured in a fight with another cat or other animal, leaving you with an expensive vet bill. Worse still, your cat could be lost, or critically injured by a vehicle. Stray and feral cats may be caught in humane animal traps, provided to the community by Alice Springs Town Council to help protect the region’s native wildlife.
If your cat is missing, contact the Alice Springs Animal Shelter by calling (08) 8953 4430, or speak to a Council Ranger by calling (08) 8950 0500.
Cat Ownership Tips
The Alice Springs municipality is a 'cat containment zone'. Council’s by-laws require cats to be confined to the boundary of their owner’s properties at all times. There are many ways to confine your cat to your yard, including:
- Building a cat enclosure.
- Creating an enclosure attached to the house, undercover area or garage.
- Making your fence un-scalable for cats by running PVC piping along the top.
Cats over six months of age must be registered, and should be desexed. Council also recommends microchipping as the best method of identification to return lost animals to their owners. More information about registration and microchipping can be found here.
Stray and Feral Cats
Alice Springs is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including many unique birds and marsupials. Feral and stray cats pose an immense threat to Central Australia’s biodiversity. Cats hunt indiscriminately across mammals, invertebrates, reptiles and birds. Australia’s extinction rate of mammals is the worst in the world, largely contributed to by the vulnerability of mammals in Central Australia.
Cats are known to have driven numerous small mammals to extinction. This is no surprise, as feral cats in particular will kill up to 30 animals each day. If your domestic cat is allowed to roam freely, it places native wildlife at further risk of extinction.
Cat in Your Yard?
If a cat repeatedly enters your property, there are a number of things you can do to minimise its threat to wildlife. Council recommends in the following order:
- That you contact the cat’s owner and let them know your concerns.
- That you contact the Ranger Unit to report the cat.
- That you request a humane animal trap from the Ranger Unit. More information about traps can be found here.