The Southern Downs Regional Council says while domestic cats make great companions “without appropriate management they can have a devastating impact on our unique native wildlife”.
A spokeswoman said a new council survey “seeks community feedback on the impact of cats across the region and the introduction of cat management initiatives”.
“With an average of 700 cats per year impounded on the Southern Downs and almost half of those deemed feral, project funding has been secured through the ‘Communities Combating Pest and Weed Impacts During Drought Program’ to reduce the impact of feral cats on wildlife and the cost of cat management for Council and residents,” the spokeswoman said.
The SDRC’s Manager of Environmental and Regulatory Services Craig Magnussen said the survey would “help shape the Council’s strategy to tackle feral cats across the region”.
“Feral cats are a major threat to native and endangered wildlife and are responsible for killing 1.6 billion native animals in Australia each year,” he said.
“Feral cats can also transmit diseases to other animals including livestock, which has the potential to cost our biggest sector – the agricultural industry.
“It is estimated that the management of cats cost Council approximately $85,000 per year and the impact to our biodiversity goes far beyond that of the dollar cost to the region.
“Community feedback through the Feral Cat Management Survey will guide Council’s approach going forward in controlling the feral cat population and protecting our native wildlife and livestock.
“Feral cat trapping programs are periodically undertaken at hot spots such as the major waste facilities at Warwick and Stanthorpe and the data indicates the cat problem is growing.
“Recognising the increasing cat problem across the region, we hope to gather information on diseases feral cats are carrying, how they move throughout the region and what their diet is.
“This information will be used to develop a cat management strategy and produce educational materials.
“Feedback is sought from both cat owners and non-cat owners.
“All responses are anonymous and will be treated as confidential.
“The survey is available online at www.sdrc.qld.gov.au and closes 1 April 2021.
“Landholders also have the opportunity to contribute to the project in a more hands-on way.
“Council is seeking interested parties to assist with data collection through feral cat trapping on their properties.
“Please visit www.sdrc.qld.gov.au to find out how to get involved.”