Feral cats have been an environmental disaster for Australian wildlife. They have already contributed to over 30 native animal extinctions and still kill billions more animals every year.
Feral cats in Australia
Australian animals like bandicoots and blue-tongued lizards have developed unique adaptations to thrive in Australia’s harsh environmental conditions. But this evolution has occurred in the absence of cats. That leaves many of our native mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and invertebrates unable to protect themselves from the instinctive hunting behaviours of feral cats. The result has been devastating for out environment.
Every Year Feral Cats in Australia Kill ...
How We Lost the Other Bilby
The bilby is one of our national wildlife icons. But prior to the 1960s, there were actually two different species of the long-eared marsupials. The yallara, or “lesser bilby”, was a smaller and more feisty version of the greater bilby we know and love today. But, unlike its larger cousin, yallara didn’t survive the onslaught of cats and foxes that followed Australia’s colonisation.
‘when feral cats are removed, bilbies thrive’
– Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Threatened Species Strategy Action Plan 2015-16 – 20 mammals by 2020, 2016
What's Being Done?
The federal government has taken steps in the right direction and commenced a parliamentary inquiry into the impacts of feral cats and pet cats on native wildlife in 2020, which gained bi-partisan political support. The inquiry resulted in six recommendations for the Australian Government including:
- recognising and prioritising the problem of feral cats in Australia,
- commissioning research into the impacts and management of feral cats and pet cats,
- resetting the current policy and planning response to feral cats,
- expanding Australia’s predator-free fenced areas and feral cat-free islands,
- developing a clear strategy to manage unowned, semi-owned and owned pet cats, and
- strengthening bodies like the National Feral Cat Taskforce, a body which the Invasive Species Council is a member of, to deliver recommendations 3-5.
What You Can Do
1. Support the pledge
Be part of our active and growing community who are using their voice to help steer governments in the right direction.
Make a pledge of support for stronger action on feral cats in Australia
Australia has the worst mammalian extinction record in the world and cats have contributed to two thirds of these species’ demise. The science is on our side, but time is not. If there are more delays, half of our species on the endangered list will continue to tumble towards extinction.
2. Help fund the Invasive Species Council’s new national cat campaign
We need your help to push for more effective control of feral cats, reduce the impacts from cats and ensure wildlife recovering from extreme weather events are safe from invasive predators.
Support our work in stopping further cat-driven extinctions in Australia.
Please donate today and allow us to run Australia’s first, continuous advocacy campaign to stop feral and free-roaming cats from driving native species to extinction.