A feral cat is any cat which does not have an owner. Cats can be classified as 'feral', 'semi-feral' or 'domestic'. Feral cats are those born into the wild without human intervention and semi-feral cats have been cared for by humans at some point, before being abandoned or lost and forced to live wild.
The common house cat will often retain its strong predator instinct, even if raised as a devoted family pet in a domestic environment. If abandoned, many domestic cats will quickly adapt to their environment and become feral in appearance and behaviour.
Feral cats will hunt a wide range of native Australian wildlife such as birds, reptiles, small mammals, fish, insects and amphibians. Even if well fed, feral and semi-feral cats will hunt and kill wildlife.
Feral cats will often look similar to domestic cats, however may have a stockier or stronger build. They tend to live in small family groups with a dominant male, several females and their young.
Classified as a Class 2 pest animal under the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002, it is the responsibility of local government, the community and landowners to manage feral cats.
What can I do?
Being a responsible pet owner is one of the most important steps we can take to control feral cats in our local community.
- Register and micro-chip your cat
- Desex your cat
- Regularly worm and vaccinate them, and
- Pick up after your cat.
There are a number of ways landowners can make their properties less inviting and accessible to feral cats:
- Install electric fencing, or non-electrified fencing with netted roofing or a curved overhang
- Install cage traps
- Remove weeds and rubbish
- Do not feed
- Monitor your property
Find out more information visit the responsible cat ownership page.