Cats come in different flavours

  • Feral Cat
  • Semi-feral cat
  • Unowned Cat
  • Companion Cat

The feral cat definition varies, but feral cats in Australia are wild cats, an unsocialised outdoor cat who has either never had any physical contact with humans.

Feral cats take on a different meaning for different people and organisations. One thing that is consistent is feral cat behaviour. They kill wildlife.


Cat lover vs Cat haters

To often the world separates into two camps over an issue, the issue of cats is not an exception. All too often on one side people are branded cat lovers and on the other people are branded cat haters. Issues over cats arise, and the solution is often difficult to find, with the protagonists polarising their arguments. It's not hard to see how this plays out.

Typically, discussions and debates conflate companion cats with the notion that all cats are cats. Whilst they are typically the same species, they cannot be viewed through the same lens.

Companion cats are not the problem.

There are issues where the two sides can come together and agree. And the safeguarding of a cat by the owner and humane treatment of animals whilst protecting the environment, is such an issue. Apart from 'over the fence' disagreement or contentions, companion cats are not the concern.


The problem is:-

  • Feral Cats
  • Semi-Feral cats
  • Unowned Cats

It was reported by the ABC (link to article) the ACT (Australian Capitol Territory) allows TNR (Trap Neuter & Release) of cats back into the wild. (Back onto the streets is synonymous with the wild).

The organisation performing TNR uses the word streets, but that is just semantics. Releasing cats onto the streets is not a home, and the cat can come and go as they please. There is room for only one cat in Australia, and that is the companion cat.

Go to the The Petition

The Australian Capital Territory (A.C.T.) is the only Australian jurisdiction where the cat management program trap, neuter, return is legal. This shocking fact revealed by ABC News.

Trap a wild, feral or unowned cat

The idea is to trap a wild, feral or unowned cat, remove its sex organs and release it back into the wild, in parks or industrial sites. Wherever the cat was trapped, it is released back to that area. The philosophy or assertion that the cat can continue living, but with restricted breeding, reducing clowder sizes over time. (clowder means group of cats)

Why clowder matters

Why clowder matters. A clowder of cats describes some cats or a 'number' of cats. There is no notion of the clowder increasing or decreasing. It just is. A colony, on the other hand, implies a sustainable group. When something is colonised, the inference is that it is sustainable with the potential for growth. American colonies grew into towns and cities. Australian colonies grew into towns and cities. The intention of TNR is to reduce the clowder population.

Failed principle

The obviously failed principle here is directed at the welfare of the feral or unowned cat. Whilst the Environmental Ministers of all states and the Federal Minister for the environment have a duty to protect native animals. These two principles are diametrically opposed.

Giving rights to an invasive species

Owned cats, otherwise known as companion cats, are protected by legislation. Native animals also are protected by legislation, and to pursue a TNR strategy in Australia works against both companion cats and native fauna giving rights to an invasive species. Feral cats and semi-feral cats are a designated 'pest'.

Unowned cats that are released become semi-feral and if adoption is not possible, euthanasia is the only solution. All parties involved in cat management follow a strict ethical code to avoid animal stress.  


RSPCA Australia believes that physically healthy and behaviourally sound companion animals that are suitable for adoption should not be euthanized. The RSPCA reluctantly accepts that in certain circumstances, euthanasia of an animal is unavoidable due to health behavioural or legislative reasons. 

Declared established pest species

On specified Crown lands in Victoria, cats (feral or wild) are a declared established pest species under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994. This declaration came into effect on 26 July 2018. This is an example of all states except ACT.

Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR)

Releasing feral and stray cats into the wild is banned in most of Australia, but in the ACT a program called trap, neuter, return (TNR) is placing them back onto the streets. This imported practice is flawed and runs counter to the science.

Greens Party: Rebecca Vassarotti MLA

In every other state and territory, various laws, including biodiversity regulations, make it illegal to release an invasive species — like a cat — back into the environment. But the ACT allows TNR.

As a member of the ACT Greens Party: Rebecca Vassarotti MLA is the Minister for the Environment; Heritage, Homelessness, and Housing Services; and Sustainable Building and Construction.

In her capacity as Minister of the Environment, she has a duty to protect indigenous wildlife. Advancing the cause of cat activists, no matter how emotional and genuine they are about animal welfare allowing TNR is not only irresponsible, it is dangerous. The science about TNR is no longer debatable, it can only be ignored.

Sign the Petition

By signing this petition, you are calling on the Federal Minister for the Environment to legislate against TNR.

  • Safeguarding indigenous fauna and companion cats from predation and disease.

  • Believing we have a responsibility to the environment, we are confronted with choice. We cannot choose both ways.

  1. Either, we decide for logical, commonsense and science by signing this petition to make TNR an illegal activity in Australia.

  2. Or we decide emotionally against signing this petition and accept or condone reintroducing feral and unowned cats back into the environment is OK.

This petition should not be a source of tension between cat owner and everybody else. Companion cat owners who are concerned for the welfare of their pets would also want to protect the environment and indigenous fauna. 

Please sign the Petition