Chance to host cat project

FELINES: RSPCA Port Lincoln shelter manager Julie Churchett, who presented the proposal with RSPCA chief executive officer Paul Stevenson.

FELINES: RSPCA Port Lincoln shelter manager Julie Churchett, who presented the proposal with RSPCA chief executive officer Paul Stevenson.

Port Lincoln City Council may be a trial site for the RSPCA's Community Cat Management Project to identify a strategy for cat management in Australian communities.

The RSPCA has proposed a two-year trial for the Cat Management Strategy it developed with the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.

It includes a community communication and engagement program, baseline research and using a trap, neuter and return approach with the target of desexing 75 per cent of the female cat population.

RSPCA SA chief executive officer Paul Stevenson presented to the council, along with Port Lincoln shelter manager Julie Churchett and said Port Lincoln and Whyalla were identified as suitable trial sites.

Port Lincoln was identified for its number of cats and the two nearby national parks.

The project would cost the council $180,000 over two years, including the employment of a community liaison officer and communication materials.

The RSPCA will contribute about $170,000 for veterinary treatments and visits.

Mr Stevenson said Port Lincoln had about 3500 owned cats with about 1600 unowned or semi owned cats with an average of 29 cats per 1000 people, more than three times higher than the Australian average of nine cats per 1000 people.

"I don't like to say Port Lincoln has a cat problem, but a cat challenge," he said.

Mr Stevenson said last year 469 cats came into the shelter with 144 rehomed and the vast majority transported to Adelaide.

He said each cat that was rehomed cost the RSPCA about $1000.

Council will consider accepting the proposal and to seek funding through the Local Government Association's Research and Development Fund, Department of Environment and Water and other agencies.

Councillor Linda Davies said she knew people would benefit from this program.

"I hope and pray there's good outcomes for our community and good education for the people who may not be as responsible as they could be," she said.