Cat Crisis

Reporter: Graeme Butler

This is the coal face of Perth's cat crisis - the cat haven... but while it's the place where many lost and lonely cats find new owners to love them... for many more it's the end of the road... dozens every day. "Up to eighty on an average given this particular time of year that when we're getting our majority"

According to Tracey Myers from the cat haven, every year more than seven thousand cats are put down. "A lot of tears a lot of anger and a lot of frustration and we want to make a difference when we do have lots of wonderful adoptions we feel like we've made a little bit of difference I spose in a way that 2500 we do adopt wouldn't otherwise had that chance"

This time of year is particularly bad for cat numbers - the breeding season sees hundreds of kittens just dumped or abandoned... and according to the cat Haven - the economic boom in W.A has spelt disaster for cats - the tighter rental market has seen some landlords decline tenants with pets. "At the moment what we're finding is that there are a lot of rental properties not allowing these people to move in with pets and hence a lot of pets have been surrendered to us these are family pets that have been with them for 10/15 years"

This house is pretty typical of the problem. There were a few cats abandoned here and now about twenty cats and kittens living in and around it and if trying to catch them isn't hard enough someone's been sneaking in feeding the cats and they even let them out of the traps

We found several of the cats including kittens had died - others were clearly hungry and diseased. Trapping cats like these is almost the sole responsibility of the community funded cat haven, while local governments have dog rangers and pounds - when it comes to feral and abandoned cats most councils don't want to know.

Hazel Brooks is a self confessed cat lover who has started an organisation called the cat law and welfare service - or CLAWS .. The main aim is to lobby for cat legislation. "We're contacting all the MPs within western Australia to asked them for their support to hopefully reinstate the cat bill and make sure that on a local level it's implemented" The cat bill would be similar to the dog act - but also carry strict breeding and selling restrictions "really what we need is mandatory sterilisation and micro-chipping therefore it will reduce the number of cats that are being put to sleep there's just too many out there it's like an epidemic far too many" Mandatory sterilisation is fully supported by the cat have which is left to pick up the pieces of Perth's cat crisis.

Contacts

Cat Haven

23 Lemnos Street Shenton Park. 9442 3655

http://www.cathaven.com.au/

__________________________________

CLAWS ( Cat law and welfare service )

http://www.claws.net.au/

PO Box 2017

Clarkson WA 6030

e-mail hazel@claws.net.au