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Feral cats can have a significant impact on both human health and livestock production through the spread of cat-dependent diseases. These diseases include toxoplasmosis, cat scratch disease, toxocariasis (cat round worm) and sarcocystis.
For humans, symptoms of these diseases can range from very mild to severe. There are over 550 deaths and 8500 hospitalisations from cat dependant diseases in Australia each year.
Cat-dependent diseases cost the Australian agriculture industry around $12 million per year. Toxoplasmosis can cause spontaneous abortion in sheep and goats, reducing livestock production. In Australia it is estimated that 17% of sheep abortions are due to toxoplasmosis, resulting in a loss of $9.97 million per year. Sarcocystosis causes cysts to form in sheep tissue making the meat unsellable. Infected meat either has to be trimmed to remove the cysts or, in more severe cases, the entire carcass is discarded. This result sin an estimated loss of $1.77 million to Australian sheep farmers every year.
As feral cats are the primary hosts for these diseases, reducing feral cat numbers can reduce the occurrence and the associated costs of cat-dependent diseases
Cage traps are available to hire or loan from most local councils or local NRM groups or RBGs. When using a trap you must always treat the animal humanely, in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act 2002 and follow any additional conditions . set by your local council. These may include notifying your neighbours when using a trap or time restrictions on when a trap can be set. Wheabelt NRM have produced this informative video on how to set a cage trap.
You can also take steps to deter feral cats from living on your property such as never feeding stray cats, ensuring all food waste is stored properly to prevent cats scavenging on it and controlling pest rodent populations.
Cat culls can be reported via FeralCatScan or to your local NRM or RBG to help monitor the presence of feral cats.
Many local councils offer a cat trap hire service to their residents, where they may hire or loan the trap, and collect the cat afterwards to take to the pound. Alternatively, traps may be available for hire or loan from your local NRM group or local Recognised Biosecurity Group.
Registered feral animal control contractors can also assist with trapping and feral cat management on your property.
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