City Imposes Cat Curfew to Bring Peace to Possums

cat waiting in window photo
Photo: Mr. T in DC / cc

In hopes of curbing a troubling trend in wildlife fatalities from the jaws of pets, city officials in one part of Sydney, Australia have implemented a plan to forbid cats from roaming the streets between dusk and dawn -- yes, a cat curfew. While many native species are impacted by pets, possums in particular have proven to be an easy target, with some 564 animals reportedly killed by felines just last year alone. Now, as conservationists make plans to reintroduce more possums to the area, cats will only be able to watch them from the window.According to a report from The Telegraph, the idea to require felines stay indoors at night came after the son of a local deputy mayor, Michele McKenzie, rescued a mother ringtail possum and her babies from one such prowling house cat. Afterwards, McKenzie put forth a measure that her municipality on the inner-west side of Sydney should give the animals a fighting chance by keeping cats inside.

The city plans to reintroduce more ringtail possums to the region, and a imposing a curfew on cats may be the best way to ensure they're not eaten by them.

"Its a small thing to ask people to keep their cats indoors if it means protecting our native wildlife." Mr McKenzie says. "After all, they were here first, we've introduced domestic pets, so we have a responsibility to control them."

From The Telegraph:

Whilst the curfew cannot be strictly enforced, an education and information program to be sent out by the local government will propose that cat owners keep their pets indoors between dusk and dawn, monitor their cat's activities during the day and attach two bells to their collar.

Mr McKenzie said local residents were very responsive.

Domesticated animals in general, but cats in particular, are one of the major factors impacting wildlife after more pervasive threats like habitat loss. In fact, most veterinarians recommend keeping all pets indoors or secured during the evening hours -- not just for the sake of wild animals, but for their own well-being, too. According to a report from our friends over Planet Green, free-roaming cat live an average of three years, whereas those kept in can live well into their teens.

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