Changes in cat management from July 1 Fri 29 June 2012 Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment Invasive Species Branch The State Government is working with cat centres and local councils to implement new cat management laws and regulations which come into effect in Tasmania on 1 July 2012. The manager of the Invasive Species Branch in the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Craig Elliott, said the focus was on responsible cat ownership and to reduce the negative effects of cats on the environment and agriculture. "The aim isto reduce the number of unwanted cats that are euthanased each year," Mr Elliott said. "Pet owners are encouraged to have their cats desexed and microchipped, and programs are being developed to help them take this important step before it becomes compulsory in the future. "From July 1, the breeding of cats will be restricted to registered breeders. "Anyone can sell or give away a cat but they must ensure the animal is at least eight weeks of age and is wormed, vaccinated, microchipped and desexed. Only sales of genuine show cats and between registered breeders will be exempt." Mr Elliott said the new laws also sanctioned the humane handling and control of unidentified, stray and feral cats at cat management facilities. Microchipped cats would be held for at least five days and unmicrochipped cats for three days to give owners an opportunity to look for lost pets. After that time, the cat management facility could re-home, sell or euthanise the animal. Mr Elliott said the new laws also provided for the control of unidentified, stray and feral cats particularly on rural land and in prohibited areas such as national parks and public and forest reserves. "Feral and stray cats are believed to have a significant impact on wildlife and livestock through predation, competition, and disease transmission," he said. "The Cat Management Act 2009 allows land owners and managers to trap or seize cats and return them to their owners or to take them to a cat management facility. The animals may also be humanely destroyed. "Cat owners should consider keeping cats inside or having an outside cat enclosure, especially those living near a prohibited area declared under the Act or in rural or remote areas. Desexing may also deter a cat from wandering." Mr Elliott said that with well-planned and strategic management, feral cat numbers could be managed, particularly in severely impacted areas. Control strategies were being developed by the pooled expertise of the Invasive Species Branch in collaboration with local government, Natural Resource Management regions, community organisations and land managers to ensure a coordinated approach. "This is the first step towards improving cat management in Tasmania and a future compulsory desexing and microchipping requirement is being considered," Mr Elliott said. "Cat owners are encouraged to have their pets microchipped and desexed now, as a part of being a responsible cat owner and to increase the chance that, if their cat strays and is trapped, it may be returned to them. "Programs are being considered to support this important step, and changes to the Act will be considered in coming years to introduce this as a compulsory measure," he said.