The mercury; PHILIP HEYWARD | July 12, 2012
THE Hobart Cat Centre wants to strengthen Tasmania’s new cat laws and clear up confusion over owners’ responsibilities.
Centre president Ingrid Tebb said it was disappointing that there had been no rush to get cats desexed or microchipped since the laws came into effect on July 1.
“At this point it is not illegal to own an undesexed and unmicrochipped cat,” Ms Tebb said, but she hoped it would become law.
She said the new Cat Management Act was aimed mostly at controlling feral cats in rural areas.
“We need to get the urban problem of stray and unwanted cats under control because that feeds the problem in the bush,” she said.
“The best way to ensure your cat is returned to you if it does go missing is a microchip.
“The Cat Centre can chip your cat for just $25, and we are open seven days a week. There is no need for an anaesthetic, it is just a quick needle usually around the shoulder. We can have a puss back with its owner in an hour with a chip and correct contact details.”
Desexing helped to curb cats’ roaming instincts and also reduced the chances of them getting into fights and suffering injuries that were costly to treat.
Some cat owners feared that compulsory desexing, except for licensed breeders, would spell the end of the beloved moggie, but Ms Tebb said that was unlikely.
“It’s a nice thought that one day we would have to breed moggies because there are not enough to satisfy demand that would mean that the problem of unwanted cats is under control,” she said.
“Unfortunately we are a long way from achieving that.”
Ms Tebb said there was nothing in the Act as yet about cats entering urban property, so it was not an offence for cats to wander into a neighbouring yard.
“The Act also doesn’t offer carte blanche for people to begin trapping their neighbours’ cat,” she said.