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Queensland government abandons mandatory cat registration

Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 10:35:26 AM EST by Cam Day

Queensland government abandons mandatory cat registration

Leave your comments below. All comments are moderated to prevent SEO spammers

bigstock-cat-8153699The Queensland Government repealed state-wide mandatory cat registration requirements on 23 September 2013.Instead, it now allows local councils the discretion to continue with, or to drop, compulsory cat registration.

In response, Brisbane City Council has suspended cat registration and will make a final decision in that regard on 21 October 2013.  Ipswich City Council is likely to follow suit.

Brisbane City Council lifestyle chairman Krista Adams, says that 16,122 of about 111,000 domestic cats in the limits are registered.

So, it seems that cat registration is an exercise in futility but why was cat registration implemented and what does that mean for cat ownership and cat control?

Why was cat registration implemented?

Cat registration is a subset of cat identification which itself is a needed part of cat control.

We humans need to control nuisance behaviours of many animal species including other pets such as dogs, feral animals (horses, pigs, deer, camels and yes, dogs and cats) and pest species (rabbits, rats, mice) and sometimes even native animals such as kangaroos and bats.

So cat registration is aimed at reducing the ‘nuisances’ cats cause in the community, but there are other methods of achieving the same result. In essence it's likely that's the reason cat registration hasn't worked.

What ‘nuisances’ do cats cause in the community

The nuisance behaviours of cats in the suburbs involve roaming, soiling (particularly urine spraying), vocalising and predation on wildlife and aggression to other free-roaming cats.

Many state that because we have dog registration, we should therefore have cat registration.

Dog nuisance behaviours are different. The big issues with dogs are dog attacks, excess vocalising (barking) and while roaming and soiling are still important , they are much less of an issue compared with cats.

Predation of free-roaming dogs occurs (and is problematic when directed towards livestock) but is less common.

Registration works for dogs because dogs are easier to catch, easier to identify by appearance, easier to confine to a garden and easier to identify when a dog owner is being interviewed.  The dog is usually present and obvious if a Council officer visits.

All of that means it’s easier to trace a dog back to its owner.

Registration doesn’t work for cats because cats are very difficult to catch, very difficult to identify by appearance, impossible to ‘trace back’ to the owner’s dwelling and if a Council officer visit a home, the cat is usually not visible.

It’s also easier to keep a cat fully-house confined compared with a dog.

Cat registration is a form of identification but so is microchipping

Cat registration is a form of identification but microchip implantation does the same task and does it more easily and more economically.

It’s also compulsory in most areas of Australia.

Currently in Australia, microchip identification is compulsory in ACT, NSW, QLD and VIC. Microchipping for dogs only is compulsory in TAS and microchipping for cats only is compulsory in WA. 

The maximum penalty for failing to have a cat or dog microchipped in Queensland is $2000.

Cat registration provides identification only within the Council area in which the cat is registered whereas microchipping provides national identification and is independent of Council boundaries.

Considering the complexity and proven failure of maintaining a cat registration system and that microchipping is already a compulsory form of identification, it really seems that cat registration is an exercise in futility and provides no significant benefits over microchipping.

Microchipping still has its weak points, the most common of which is the failure of pet owners to notify the microchip registries of their change of ownership or address details. Another weak point is that some irresponsible breeders and sellers of cats don’t have their cats microchipped before sale.

However it is still a system which provides many benefits particularly when combined with neutering.

Microchipping of cats should be done before they are sold but a fall-back position is that most veterinarians will microchip a cat at the time it is presented for desexing if it is not already microchipped.

Solving cat ‘nuisance’ behaviourscats_window-predation_on-bird190

The nuisance behaviours of cats including soiling (particularly urine spraying), vocalising and predation on wildlife and aggression between cats are all caused by one thing – the cat’s ability to roam.

So most, if not all, cat nuisance behaviours are prevented by just one thing – keeping a cat within the bounds of the owner’s property.

That can be done by making a cat fully house-confined or by having a garden enclosure to allow the cat outside but not to roam free.

You can make a garden enclosure yourself or there are many commercial organisations doing just that.

Click here for more details on cat confinement and lifestyle enrichment strategies


What is your view? Leave your comments below.



Comment by: Charles
Mar 16, 2017 at 2:48 PM
My question is why should dog owners have to pay each year and cat owners not ?
Comment by: Brenda Colbourne
Oct 21, 2013 at 12:40 PM
(This response has been edited) I resent the attitude of some on this blog towards domestic cats and their irresponsible owners. I have been in cat rescue for 19 long hard years and I have rescued pure bred cats as well as domestics. All my cats are confined to my property be a cat fence around the back yard. During those 19 years, I have come across what most, and no doubt you, would deem as kitten farmers who turn out so many kittens that they can export 30 felines in one years overseas, plus the ones they supply to the domestic market. Fortunately for the cat world, that breeder has retired. Education is one of the keys issues, but there are some people who will never desex an animal because it is not natural. All the cats that leave my place are desexed, vaccinated and microchipped. I have been chipping since before it became compulsory. There is compulsory deseing by the age of 12 weeks in the ACT. No one polices that, so people keep on breeding. The whole isue is very complex and will not be solved overnight by anyone. Keep an open mind to how the issues can be managed. I am on a government pension and I can still manage to pay for everything that the cats need. I have learnt to go without non essential things to pay for the cats and other animals I rescue from pounds/shelters and the odd owner surrender. If I can manage, then other poeple could if they put their minds to it - even so called registered breeders that yo say cannot afford registration and have stopped breeding. I own purebred cats as well as domestics - don't be a snob. It is breeders like you that do harm with your attitude. ALL cats are equal, like all humans.
Comment by: Rusty dePassey
Oct 9, 2013 at 9:40 PM
Domesticated cats, owned by irresponsible people, cause a great deal more damage in our environment than most dogs. I feel for people who the cost difficult but if you can't afford to register a pet can you reasonably care for one. Free roaming cats can be problem, a neighbours cat roamed and was trapped in our garden 4 times, they never kept it in despite our requests. It's favourite trick was to kill the native birds we encouraged and to use the garden bed under our window as a toilet. Eventually a snake solved the problem. Those who don't care enough to register don't care to controlpoor behaviours, what happens if your pet dissapears? Forget about it and get another? Registration should be compulsory and fines should apply, exactly as for dogs.
Comment by: Lynne Johnston
Oct 9, 2013 at 8:54 AM
We got our two cats registered straight up and thought it a good idea at the time, but we as responsible pet owners worried about the ones who couldn't afford it. We were also very lucky with ours who were not interested in wildlife and would sleep voluntarily inside at night and most of the day except when "nature" called. There has to be some solution with desexing and chipping but what about the ones who get dumped or forgotten when owners move away? It still comes back to the individual do you REALLY want a cat and not because it's cute when tiny. My heart breaks to see this and we see a lot out in the west. I hope a solution can be found for the problem maybe with the vets to keep a close eye on those who are coming up to the age of desexing and send reminders like they do for annual checkup etc with funding incentives. This is a difficult argument for all concerned.
Comment by: Anne
Oct 9, 2013 at 8:19 AM
My registered, desexed and micro chipped poodle who is kept within the bounds of my apartment or on a leash when walking, found a close to death native baby bird on our walk yesterday, it was being mauled by a cat owned by another apartment dweller. One rule for dog owners another for cat owners. We took the bird home and called our vet, while waiting for her to collect the poor little bird we wrapped it in a soft rug on the couch and my dog stood guard licking its little head now and again. We have a lovely native garden full of bird life which irresponsible cat owners allow their pets to maim and kill. In my opinion cats should also be confined to their owners property and walked on a leash, be desexed, micro chipped and registered.Their owners should carry poo bags on walks and just like dog owners be fined if they disregard the law.
Comment by: Cam Day
Oct 8, 2013 at 6:12 PM
Thanks for all your replies. This seems to stir the hornet's nest!! Cam
Comment by: Naomi
Oct 8, 2013 at 4:37 PM
As if we didn't know cat rego was just a greedy, predjudiced joke pulled by the cat hat brigade. I'd like a refund from OSR for all the registration fees I've paid for my trio, thanks Campy. And how about an incentive for all the money & effort that went into my cat condos? Re a different point in Dr Cam's text, I don't fear riding my motorcycle or my bicycles or walking in the vicinity of the odd moggie. But I sure as hell worry about those dogs that leap at their fences while I coast past their lots; or lurch at me while dragging their 'owners' along our so-called cycleways; tracks that are fast resembling a free for all with scooters, mothers & prams, toddlers, walkers, joggers, dogs of all shapes and manners, mixed in with some occasional cyclists. Dogs can be dangerous. Even puppies such as the one some boys tossed in front of me & my Honda 100 over 40 years ago; or the young german shepherd that leapt down on me from the higher section of a divided road in Toowong, downing me and my new Moto Guzzi 30 years back. Then ran home trailing its chain, to be comforted by its owners, who assured me their dog had never chased anything and no, they weren't paying for my repairs, you're just a bikie. Cats do fight dirty but they're not overly mismatched in size usually, and can't shake an opponent to death as far as I know, as did a neighbour's ridgeback rottweiler cross with one of my cats. Oh, and it was a guard dog [of his stash]. Why should anyone have to live next door to an unemployed 'guard dog'? Cats decimate wildlife if allowed to; parks & wildlife remain more concerned with feral pigs and baby booming 'roos, if TV news is reliable. I routinely see wildlife flattened on suburban roads, due to some careless car driver; rarely a cat. I have however sat around in a caf listening to friends who live the dream on lifestyle blocks, as they describe finding their chooks' claws and feathers or their pet dog's head in the bush, the only part some bushwhacking band of dogs couldn't get their jaws around. When did we last see headlines of a toddler being mauled to death by a house cat? An uncontrolled, ill trained or just 'loose' dog is potentially much more hazardous than a feral cat I suggest. The only comparison is that it is a people problem in both cases. And in the complete lack of interest, action, responsibility and expenditure demonstrated by our elected minders, towards control of people and their problem pests.
Comment by: Dawn Baker
Oct 8, 2013 at 2:51 PM
Thanks for this article - my knee jerk reaction was to register, however I can see that it just isn't working. It would be terrific if all kittens had to be microchipped, however whatever system we have, we need the dollars to police it. Our Burmese is spayed, registered, microchipped, kitty littered, and locked in at night, having been bought from a reputable dealer - 9 years ago. However, we are not the target, as we are educated, aware and all that good stuff. So how to raise money so that the people who consider they can't afford desexing, microchipping can be supported? And how to get the issue acknowledged in this campaign weary community.? Lots of it is about the fantasy that many people are in when they connect with a new pet, and how to help sections of the community realise what a huge commitment it is. I'm a retired psychologist, so understand how tricky it is for people to recognise a fantasy when they are having one (hey, my wardrobe has a few of these!). I think we need a multi-disciplined committee including those whose job it is to police actions. I was one of the first to work in HIV in Sydney in the early 80s, and the bowling ball add did wonders - however, as we know, the younger gay people are now less alert, let alone alarmed. So, it would begin with raising dollars for awareness and then policing. Here endth my rave. Dawn
Comment by: Elaine Vincent
Oct 8, 2013 at 12:38 PM
I am a registered (QFA)pedigree cat breeder of 20+ years. I micro chip all my kittens and cats before they are sold. Cat registration was doomed to fail because it is only the committed registered breeder who is prepared to do the right thing by registering their cats and keeping their stock contained on their property. Because of this ruling I know of several reputable breeders who have been forced to stop breeding because they simply could not afford the extra expense of cat registration. The backyard breeder and owners of domestic cats and kittens do not appear to have the same ethics or responsible attitude, there in lies the problem. The majority of people who come to me wanting a pedigree kitten are usually looking for an indoor cat and are prepared to provide a safe outdoor enclosure for the kitten or simply keep the animal indoors or train it to walk on a harness. These are the people I am very happy to sell to. I think desexing needs to be made more affordable to people and a more concentrated approach to educating people about the value of desexing and keeping cats contained. I also strongly believe that Pet shops should be banned from selling kittens ( and puppys) as this only encourages the backyard breeder to breed.
Comment by: kirsten
Oct 8, 2013 at 11:40 AM
I am a vet nurse that sees many stray cats dropped into the clinic and many more female cats dropped in with their stray baby kittens that many memebers of the public merely find in their backyards or around their homes.WHY would the council not also mention the importance of people letting their cats roam and impregnate who knows how many cats as this is a MASSIVE issue.its not fun having to euth kittens and cats because there is a massive overpopulation of them and they have no where to about we raise this issue to-desex and keep your cats indoors its simple!
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