Feral cats threaten the survival of over 100 native species throughout Australia and have caused the extinction of some ground-dwelling birds and small mammals.
Numbers are on the rise in the Muswellbrook Shire.
In an effort to stem this predation by feral cats Muswellbrook Shire Council will no longer charge a fee for the loan of a cage trap, for a 12 month trial period from 1 July 2019.
The trapping of feral cats by using cage traps is an effective tool in urban and residential areas where domestic cats are also present and individual wild cats need to be targeted.
Non-target animals can be released unharmed and trapped feral cats can be taken to Council animal care facility or local vet clinics for disposal.
Council previously charged a deposit, refundable on return of the cage trap, and a fee for the use of a cage trap but will now just require identification.
Feral cats are the same species as domestic cats but live and reproduce in the wild and survive by hunting or scavenging and can carry infectious diseases which can be transmitted to native animals, domestic livestock and humans.
The cats are predominantly solitary and nocturnal, spending most of the day in the safety of a shelter such as a rabbit burrow, log or rock pile. They are carnivores, generally eating small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects and mostly feed at night.
Predation by feral cats is listed as a key threatening process under section 188 of Australia’s national environment law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), which was updated in 2008.
Many native animals are struggling to survive so reducing the number killed by this introduced predator will help their populations to grow.