Background

A domestic cat is one that is kept and fed by humans. All other cats are classified as feral, including those that are semi-dependent on humans. Feral cats are distributed throughout Queensland. They are highly adaptable animals that can survive and reproduce in all habitats and do not require drinking water. Few environmental factors limit their distribution.

They are opportunistic predators and studies of their diet have shown that they take as prey many native animals including small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and fish. Through predation, feral cats can cause disruption to ecosystems and are implicated in the elimination of some species from areas such as islands. They are frequently infected with the diseases toxoplasmosis (which can be transmitted to domestic stock, native animals and humans) and sarcosporidiosis. The presence of toxoplasmosis and sarcosporidiosis can result in the condemnation of lamb carcasses. Feral cats have the potential to act as a rabies vector or reservoir should the disease enter Australia.

Responsibility

Landowners: destruction and control of pest animals.

Local governments: compliance, surveillance, local planning, mapping, and raising awareness.

DAF: statewide planning, mapping, coordination of management, raising awareness, and research.

Local governments, RSPCA, animal welfare groups: encouraging responsible pet ownership.

References

  • Environment Australia 1999, Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by Feral Cats, Department of Environment and Heritage, available at the Department of the Environment.
  • Dickman, CR 1996, Overview of the Impact of Feral Cats on Australian Native Fauna, National Parks and Wildlife, Canberra.
  • Queensland Government, invasive animals regarding Feral cats
  • The Brisbane Invasive Species Management Plan 2013-17
  • Department of Agriculture and Fisheries – Feral cat

 

Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002.

In Queensland the feral cat is a declared Class 2 pest animal under the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002. A Class 2 pest animal is one that is established in Queensland and has, or could have, a substantial adverse economic, environmental or social impact.

Control Options:

Under the provisions of the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002, it is the landholder’s responsibility to manage feral cats on their land. For management purposes, feral cats are divided into two categories:

  • Semi-feral cat: Semi-feral cats live around dump sites, abandoned buildings and commercial/industrial premises. Rely on the presence of humans by scavenging rubbish scraps and sheltering in abandoned structures.
  • True feral cat: The true feral cat does not rely on humans at all, born and reared in the wild. Obtains all its food and shelter requirements from the natural environment.

 

Control Methods employed by Pest Animal Management Queensland:

  • Field shooting
  • Cage type traps
  • Rubber jawed foot hold traps

Traps

Trapping techniques must conform to accepted animal welfare practices and the traps used must be approved by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

 

Guideline prepared under section 15 of the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002 (Qld)

Purpose and scope

This guideline has been prepared under section 15 of the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002 (Qld) to support successful management of feral cats, declared as Class 2 pests. It sets out an objective, and statutory and non-statutory actions which are consistent with the eight principles of pest management listed in section 9 of the Act.

Operational objective

To reduce feral cat numbers, particularly where they have or could have significant environmental and social impacts.

Operational actions

  1. Integration

Incorporate feral cat management into related planning and management programs.

2. Public awareness

  • Raise public awareness of predation by feral cats, their competition with wildlife, their impacts on biodiversity, and management techniques available for feral cat control.
  • Ensure the public is aware that it is illegal to feed feral cats (s. 40).

3. Commitment

  • Enforce compliance when landowners do not take reasonable steps to contribute to feral cat control.
  • Provide incentives to landowners to participate in coordinated control programs.

4. Consultation and partnership

Build working partnerships between key stakeholders to generate a holistic approach to cat management and a sense of community ownership of the problem.

5. Planning

  • Refer to the Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by Feral Cats for broad guidance on feral cat management.
  • Identify environmentally significant areas and associated feral cat populations through monitoring and mapping, so that new and existing populations can be targeted.
  • Secure adequate resources (i.e. time, funds and personnel) to carry out the actions in this guideline.

6. Prevention

Encourage responsible pet ownership so that domestic cats do not add to the feral cat population, or adversely affect the environment or the amenity of neighbourhood areas.

7. Best practice

  • Reduce feral cat numbers by trapping, shooting, and/or excluding them from environmentally significant areas or areas where they are adversely affecting the environment.
  • Collate and distribute best practice information to landowners.

8. Improvement

Keep up-to-date with research on the management of feral cats.

 

Biosecurity Act of Queensland 2014

Cats are class 3,4, 5 invasive animals and subject to restrictions relating to invasive animals in those classes

 

Invasive animals  
Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia) 2,3,4,5,6
Blackbuck antelope (Antilope cervicapra) 2,3,4,5,6
Cat ( Felis catus and Prionailurus bengalensis x Felis catus), other than a domestic cat 3,4,6

 

43     Distributing or disposing of category 3 restricted matter

(1) A person who has category 3 restricted matter in the person’s possession or under the person’s control must not distribute or dispose of the restricted matter unless the distribution or disposal is –

  1. a) performed in the way prescribed under a regulation; or
  2. b) authorised under a restricted matter permit; or
  3. c) performed by an authorised officer in the performance of the authorised officer’s functions under this Act; or
  4. d) for the purpose of the Board of the Queensland Museum, or the Queensland Herbarium, identifying the restricted matter; or
  5. e) for the purpose of identifying the restricted matter by, or at the request of, a government entity with expertise in the identification of the restricted matter; or
  6. f) for a purpose prescribed by regulation.

Maximum penalty—500 penalty units.

(2) A person who has a thing infested with category 3 restricted matter in the person’s possession or under the person’s control must not distribute or dispose of the thing unless the distribution or disposal is –

  1. a) performed in the way prescribed under a regulation; or
  2. b) authorised under a restricted matter permit; or
  3. c) performed by an authorised officer in the performance of the authorised officer’s functions under this Act.

Maximum penalty—500 penalty units.

(3) In this section—

Distribute, restricted matter or a thing, includes the following—

  1. giving the restricted matter or thing to another person;
  2. selling or trading in the restricted matter or thing;
  3. releasing the restricted matter or thing into the environment.

 

Summary of legislation relating to urban stray cats:

i. Land Protection Pest and Stock Route Management Act 2002

Under Queensland State Law a person(s) may not feed a stray cat (Class 2 pest) without a reasonable excuse1 or is involved in a baiting or trapping campaign to control their numbers2. In addition people must not without reasonable excuse, release a stray cat unless they have a declared pest permit3 or if it done in order to control their numbers or kill it3. Finally people must not give away or sell stray cats but can supply them if they possess a declared pest permit5.

References:

1Part 5, Division 2, Section 40, Subsection 1; Land Protection Pest and Stock Route Management Act 2002

2Part 5, Division 2, Section 40, Subsection 2; Land Protection Pest and Stock Route Management Act 2002

3Part 5, Division 2, Section 42, Subsection 1; Land Protection Pest and Stock Route Management Act 2002

4Part 5, Division 2, Section 42, Subsection 2; Land Protection Pest and Stock Route Management Act 2002

5Part 5, Division 2, Section 44; Land Protection Pest and Stock Route Management Act 2002

 

ii. Biosecurity Act 2014

Under Queensland State Law a person(s) must not give away, sell, release into the environment or dispose of a stray cat(s) or their remains1 (category 3 restricted matter) unless it is covered in another regulation/law/act2, has a restricted matter permit3 or is performed by an authorised officer4.

 

References:

1Chapter 2, Section 43, Subsection 3; Biosecurity Act 2014

2Chapter 2, Section 43, Subsection 1,a; Biosecurity Act 2014

3Chapter 2, Section 43, Subsection 1,b; Biosecurity Act 2014

4Chapter 2, Section 43, Subsection 1,c; Biosecurity Act 2014

 

 

Animal Care and Protection Act 2001

Chapter 3 General animal offences

Page 22 Current as at 1 July 2016

https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/A/AnimalCaPrA01.pdf

Authorised by the Parliamentary Counsel

 

19 Unreasonable abandonment or release

(1) A person in charge of an animal must not abandon or release an animal unless the person has a reasonable excuse or the abandonment or release is authorised by law. Maximum penalty—300 penalty units or 1 year’s imprisonment. Note— If a corporation commits an offence against this provision, an executive officer of the corporation may be taken, under section 209A, to have also committed the offence.

(2) A person must not, unless the person has a reasonable excuse, release an animal from the custody of the person in charge of it. Maximum penalty—300 penalty units or 1 year’s imprisonment. Note— If a corporation commits an offence against this provision, an executive officer of the corporation may be taken, under section 209A, to have also committed the offence.

(3) In this section— abandon, an animal, includes leaving it for an unreasonable period.