Community Cat Program

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Help create less of this

and more of this

The Australian Pet Welfare Foundation is leading a transformational five year research project – one that could be instrumental in saving the lives of more than 100,000 healthy and treatable cats and dogs in Australian pounds and shelters every year. It is big. It is exciting. And we’d love your support to help desex more cats and save more lives.

Why this research is so important

Most of the animals currently euthanased in Australian shelters and pounds are stray cats from cities and towns. This is because how we currently manage them doesn’t reduce their numbers. It just leads to a constant cycle of breeding, impoundment, then euthanasia. More breeding, more impoundment, more euthanasia. But we know what will reduce their numbers and how to stop this cycle. Now we need your help to prove it.

About the project

During this innovative five year trial, we will assess methods for managing stray cats in cities and towns based on desexing.

What we expect

Based on proven and extensive overseas research, we expect our Community Cat Program will lead to:

  • 30% decrease in cat intake into pounds and shelters from target areas after 1 year
  • 50% decrease in killing of healthy and treatable cats from target areas after 1 Year
  • 30% decrease in stray cats in target areas by Year 2
  • continuing declines in subsequent years
  • less killing of healthy and treatable cats and dogs
  • greater proportion of cats and dogs adopted
  • less damage to the mental health of staff tasked with euthanasia.

Supported by many large Australian and overseas animal charities

This project is being supported by Australia’s leading animal charities and will involve many of Australia’s top universities. International experts are very excited by what we’re doing and are also providing valuable input.

But what about wildlife?

Because Community Cat Programs lead to long-term reductions in stray cat numbers – which doesn’t happen with our current approach – we expect that wildlife predation will be reduced. In fact, assessing wildlife predation is part of our study. NSW’s Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) has lent its support to the project and is pleased to see a new approach for managing urban stray cats being investigated. WIRES CEO, Ms Leanne Taylor, stated, ‘WIRES will be following the results keenly. We hope this approach will lead to long term benefits to wildlife in cities and towns throughout Australia by reducing the impacts on native animals.’

But I care about dogs!

This research is great news for dogs, too. With fewer cats in pounds and shelters, there are more resources to care for dogs and get them adopted. Community Cat Programs overseas lead to higher live release rates for dogs. Everyone wins.

It’s not just about the animals

A little known fact is that vets, vet nurses, shelter and pound staff are being damaged by our current approach to managing stray cats. Every day, year-round, an unfortunate ‘someone’ is asked to end the life of every second cat arriving at pounds and shelters.  This damages their mental health – damage that sometimes costs them their life. Overseas, animal care workers involved with euthanasia have the same workplace suicide risk as police and firefighters, which is higher than all other industry sectors. We can, and must, do better – for them and for the animals.

What about the cost?

During our project, economists will determine the costs of our current stray cat management approach versus desexing. We expect our research will show that it is actually less expensive to use desexing to reduce urban stray cat numbers. So councils – and ratepayers – will benefit.

This research is a game changer – for animals, people, shelters and councils

We truly can’t overstate how important this research will be in changing everything about how we manage companion animals in Australia – and may be the world. If the results are what we expect, we will work to change legislation so that councils can implement Community Cat Programs in your city or town and save the lives of cats, dogs, wildlife and people. The days of constant streams of healthy kittens being born to die will finally be over. And the lives of vets, shelter and pound staff will be better.  How much better? Check out this video.

Will you be part of history?

This trial is expensive. It is complicated. It will go for five years. If you care about cats, dogs, wildlife and people, and want to be part of a history-making project, we would love your support. Your monthly donation will help save the lives of animals, and reduce trauma to animal care workers – people who want to help animals live, not die.

Start saving lives now and make Australia a safer place to be a pet.


Learn more about Community Cat Programs.

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