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Living with wildlife: Domestic Pets

Monday, September 20, 2021

September is Happy, Healthy Cat Month and a great time to focus on responsible pet ownership.  

Australians are animal lovers, with many homes having domestic pets. Domestic pets are important companions in our lives but also have the potential to harm native animals. Every pet deserves a safe home where it is loved, cared for, and kept free from hazards, however, extra considerations can be taken to care for our native animals as well.   

Every year, WIRES receives thousands of calls for advice concerning interactions between domestic pets and native animals. Sadly, this is a common cause of injury in suburban areas and if the injured native animal is not immediately taken to receive veterinary care, the consequences can be fatal. Luckily, there are some precautions that can be taken to help minimise the risks of wildlife being injured, and to avoid unpleasant situations for your family pet. WIRES strongly promotes responsible pet ownership which is key to a safer environment for wildlife and for domestic pets.  

We have pulled together some tips for responsible pet ownership that can help protect our native animals:  

  • If there is a native animal in your yard, please keep your pet indoors until it can safely move on
  • Provide sufficient food and shelter for your pets 
  • Never feed stray cats or dogs unless you intend to care for them as a pet
  • Identify your pet with a collar, tag and microchip 
  • De-sex your pets to prevent unwanted litters  
  • If possible, keep dogs inside at night or confined to a secure space when native animals are most active
  • Keep your cat inside, at least at night when native animals are most active 
  • Provide a safe environment for wildlife in your garden by having separate areas for pets e.g. a fully enclosed cat run

A cat run or pet enclosure will give your cat the best of both worlds – the safety of life inside, with access to a secure outdoor area. It can be constructed around a tall tree, allowing your cat the freedom to climb, scratch and perch in a high place. 

Catnets are an Australian owned company that offer cat enclosure solutions.   

You can view their enclosures here: https://catnets.com.au   

For every Premium or Classic Portable Cat Enclosure sold in September 2021, Catnets will donate $10 to WIRES  

If you find a sick, injured or orphaned native animal in your house or yard, move all pets and people away to minimise stress to the animal and allow it to move on safely.  

If there is the chance one of your pets has come into contact with an animal or held it in their mouth, even if the native animal looks unharmed, please call WIRES 1300 094 737 for rescue assistance or take it to a vet for assessment immediately as the claws and mouths of domestic pets can contain bacteria harmful to wildlife.  

Thank you to all the responsible pet owners who are taking steps to keep our domestic animals and native animals.  

Useful contacts: 
Catnets https://catnets.com.au/  
Cat Protection Society https://catprotection.org.au  
RSPCA https://www.rspca.org.au  

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