Harry Bruce's take on the large number of cats caught roaming Whitsunday streets. Picture: Harry Bruce.
Harry Bruce's take on the large number of cats caught roaming Whitsunday streets. Picture: Harry Bruce.

FELINE FRENZY: Why so many cats have been caught wandering

THE Whitsunday region has a problem with cats, and no, we don’t mean the 2019 train crash of a movie.

Council and animal rescue groups have noted an large boost in the number of cats, both domestic and feral, wandering the streets.

Helping Hands Animal Rescue Bowen co-founder Kirsty Short said she had seen a “massive influx” of stray felines.

In the last three days alone, Helping Hands has taken in 15 feral cats.

“The amount we’ve seen is just insane,” she said.

“Even the vets have said they haven’t seen this many in quite a while.”

Whitsunday Regional Council also noted a spike in stray felines and has received 30 cat complaints so far this year, which director of community and environment Julie Wright said was “quite a few”.

From these 30 complaints, council has impounded 56 cats caught roaming the streets.

Ms Short from Helping Hands was not sure what had caused the increase, however the council has two possible theories.

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“When you’ve got activity in cane fields with the crushing it will push them out of the paddocks and into townships,” Ms Wright said.

“The other reason also is that if there’s no dogs roaming in the area, cats will have a little bit of a tendency to venture out a little bit further.”

The staff at Helping Hands have endeavoured to re-home as many of the cats as possible but urged residents to reach out if they needed assistance in caring for animals.

They will also launch a Last Litter campaign this week aimed at encouraging pet owners to de-sex their animals to prevent unwanted litters.

Ms Wright also encouraged cat owners to keep an eye on their pets and urged residents to abide by local laws that dictate cats are not allowed to roam outside their owner’s residential property.

“The cat rules are exactly the same as what the dog rules are,” she said.

Complaints for both domestic and feral cats can be lodged to Whitsunday Regional Council.

Council officers can also issue traps to homes in a bid to reduce the number of wandering cats and keep other wildlife safe.