In Australia, where neither wild cats nor pet cats are indigenous, the focus of cat protection by WLPA is on the urban owned and unowned cats. Unowned cats sadly live free-to-roam and are often called ‘community cats’ or ‘colony cats’ replacing the stigmatized term, feral cats. They are wild animals born in the wild or they go wild when lost or abandoned. This is so even though they are the same species as a domestic cat. ‘Trapping, neuter and release’ (TNR) is the term in the literature given to managing the fertility of colony cats. WLPA uses the term, ‘Trap, Neuter, Release or Rehome’ or TNRR and considers the welfare of each animal being desexed on a case by case basis as to the decision whether or not to release the animal back to the wild. WLPA assists the community to take responsibility to feed, manage fertility and deliver veterinarian services to unowned cats since WLPA cannot pay for the services needed.
Current estimates in the literature are that there may be more unowned than owned cats in some Australian capital cities. That there are so many unowned and undesexed urban cats, whose origins stem from abandoned and mismanaged pets, presents a confronting problem for charities. Societal mismanagement of cats results in as many as 55,000 surplus kittens being born each year in Sydney alone for whom homes must be found. Thousands die prior to rescue (there can be a 50 to 70% mortality rate of kittens born in the wild) and each year between 80,000 and 200,000 cats and kittens are euthanized by vets or by Council-funded pounds and shelters in New South Wales.
The no-kill stance of WLPA
Urban cat protection then is too big a job for any single animal charity and WLPA can only contribute to this larger effort through donations of money and time from the community.