What can Murray Bridge do about its stray cat problem?

The city's council is asking residents for their ideas in a survey.

A household cat cap, education and harsher penalties are among ideas being floated to deal with Murray Bridge’s stray cat problem.

The city's council is using a survey to ask locals for ideas after years of problems with feral cats.

Community development general manager Kristen Manson said the council wanted to know what issues people were having and how they might be managed.

“Cats are a significant part of our community and provide love and companionship for their owners,” she said.

“It is essential that we provide safe homes for them and minimise the negative impacts (they might have) on our neighbourhoods, wildlife and our environment.”

The survey asks cat owners how many cats they have, whether they understand their obligations – without explaining what they are – and whether their cats are registered with Dogs and Cats Online, South Australia’s registration and microchip database.

Every respondent is asked whether they have lodged a complaint about cats in the past 12 months, what cat problems they have experienced, where and when, and what they did in response.

They are also asked about possible solutions to the feral cat problem, including:

  • A limit on the number of cats that can be kept in a household

  • A ban on cats leaving their owners’ properties

  • Council employing a cat catcher

  • Incentives for owners to have their cats registered, microchipped or desexed

  • A cat owner education program

  • Harsher penalties for rule-breaking cat owners

The survey can be filled out anonymously.

Only a few months ago, Councillor Karen Eckermann blasted both the council and state government for their inaction on the issue, which she called “embarrassing”.

She and the other councillors demanded that staff put forward some options for dealing with stray cats, possibly including a cat curfew.

One is already in place in Mount Barker, but Murray Bridge’s councillors rejected that idea as recently as last October.

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