||RSPCA Australia recognises that responsible cat ownership means owners accepting full responsibility for cats in terms of their welfare, as well as meeting the standards for cat management that are expected by the community (see A1).
||Government policy on the management of cats in the community must maintain a balance between the need to ensure the welfare of cats and the need to reduce the potential negative impacts of cats on wildlife and the community.
Any management program must adopt a holistic, strategic and humane approach and aim to:
- recognise all cats as sentient animals, capable of suffering
- recognise the value of cats as companion animals
- promote education and awareness about responsible cat ownership
- reduce the number of unwanted kittens and cats through desexing prior to sexual maturity
- reduce the impact of hunting by cats
- reduce the incidence of public nuisance caused by cats
- incorporate measures to include the whole cat population in the given area, including owned cats, unowned stray cats (including those being fed by humans) and feral cats
- increase the number of responsible owners willing to take full ownership of unowned stray cats.
||Containment of cats
||RSPCA Australia encourages the containment of cats in an enclosed area (within the owner’s property boundaries). Containment of cats can help to protect cats from disease and injury through fighting and accidents, increase the opportunity for owner-animal interaction and reduce the impact of hunting by cats and disturbance caused to neighbours.
||Where cats are contained, steps must be taken to ensure that adequate exercise and environmental enrichment (complexity) are available to provide physical and psychological stimulation.
||Access to an outdoor escape-proof enclosure/run is highly recommended as this can greatly increase the opportunity for activity and stimulation for contained cats. Ideally, cats should be trained to be contained early.
||A leash and harness may be used to walk cats outside the owner’s property under direct supervision (see A7.4.5).
See also: A7.4 Training of companion animals
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