Trying to control cats in South Australia's arid areas and Adelaide's metropolitan suburbs
Cats are prolific killers of native animals and birds.
Feral cats have spread to the most arid areas of South Australia, with each cat estimated to kill up to 1000 native animals a year. Attempts to cut cat numbers in the arid north have ranged from bait trials in 2013-14 on Roxby Downs Station to volunteers shooting a record 200 feral cats around the Arid Recovery Reserve, also near Roxby Downs. That cull alone was estimated to have saved the lives of 370,475 native animals over a year.
Another area targeted for eradicating feral cats by 2030 is Kangaroo Island.
John Wamsley, founder of Warrawong sanctuary at Mylor in the Adelaide Hills from 1969, led to the South Australian law change, allowing feral cats to be legally killed, by controversially wearing a dead-cat hat to a tourism awards ceremony.
Another South Australian cat activist, Christine Pierson, founded CATS (Cats Assistance To Sterilise) in 1988. This aimed to stop thousands of unwanted cats being killed in animal shelters by educate the community and assisting with desexing of hundreds of thousands of cats. CATS has been supported by a network of veterinary surgeons and metropolitan councils such as Unley, Norwood, Payneham & St Peters, Burnside, Port Adelaide Enfield, Holdfast Bay and Salisbury.
South Australian laws, developed by the Dog and Cat Management Board and the Local Government Association of South Australia, for cat and dog owners and breeders have made desexing compulsory of all dogs and cats born after July 2018 and microchipping made compulsory of all dogs and cats irrespective of their date of birth.
Still outside these laws is the problem of unowned cats, estimated at around half a million in South Australia in 2019.