Naracoorte's stray cats no conincidence

STRAY cats appear to be on the move in Naracoorte again - and it's no coincidence that it's happening at this time of year.

The Herald was contacted by several readers in March-April last year commenting that stray cat numbers seemed to have exploded.

It has happened again, with one man claiming last week that in one night he almost hit five cats in his car in a short space of time.

March-April immediately follows the usual breeding period for cats, meaning that the feline population increases markedly along with the number of strays.

Naracoorte Lucindale Council general inspector Darren Callaghan said the council wasn't aware of a current problem with cat numbers.

But he said it was difficult to manage cat populations in the community, for a number of reasons.

"The objects of the Dog and Cat Management Act are to 'encourage responsible dog and cat ownership, to reduce public and environmental nuisance caused by dogs and cats and to promote the effective management of dogs and cats (including through encouragement of the desexing of dogs and cats),'" he said.

"Even though this legislation exists it offers limited means to manage domestic cats and there is no legislative requirement to provide cat pound facilities.

"For these reasons the Naracoorte Lucindale Council focuses its resources on encouraging responsible dog and cat ownership and educating the community on what responsible dog and cat ownership entails."

Mr Callaghan said the council encouraged cat owners to sterilise their cats, confine them to the house at night for their own protection and to prevent them from taking wildlife and breeding freely if not sterilised, not letting their cat disrupt neighbours and providing outdoor enclosures.

Residents experiencing problems with cats are advised not to feed or encourage strays, but ask neighbours if they own the cat. An identified cat caught or trapped must be released immediately.

If an owner can't be found then unidentified nuisance cats can be trapped by the person experiencing problems and taken to the Naracoorte Veterinary Centre on Stewart Tce.

Cat traps are available to hire for a minimal fee from the council.

"The problems associated with nuisance cats are difficult and complex and there is no easy solution," Mr Callaghan said.

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