PAWS FOR THOUGHT: Gympie council data reveals only 2 per cent of cats impounded in the last financial year were reclaimed by owners, compared to 54 per cent of dogs.
PAWS FOR THOUGHT: Gympie council data reveals only 2 per cent of cats impounded in the last financial year were reclaimed by owners, compared to 54 per cent of dogs. John McCutcheon

APOCALYPSE MEOW: Disturbing truth about Gympie's lost cats

THE eternal battle of cats versus dogs has a clear favourite in Gympie with only 2 per cent of the region's impounded felines being claimed by owners.

Gympie Regional Council data reveals 11 of the 412 cats impounded in the last financial year were returned to their owners.

Another 388 were sent to the RSPCA, and 13 more died.

The reclamation rate was a far cry from that of dogs, where 54 per cent were returned.

RSPCA spokesman Michael Beattie said the council's registration and pound policies played a role in the huge disparity.

Cats are not required to be registered in Gympie.
Cats are not required to be registered in Gympie. John Gass /TWE040313cats

Where dogs must be registered, the same does not apply for cats.

"I think what Gympie council's doing with dogs is great,” he said.

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"If (dogs) are desexed, microchipped and and registered they are released for free.

"Obviously this is an incentive.

"With cats, for some reason, they scrapped the compulsory registration.”

Any cat owner faces a $132 fee to have their pet released, even on its first impoundment.

Mr Beattie said making the law the same for cats would help.

98 per cent of cats are unclaimed by owners in Gympie.
98 per cent of cats are unclaimed by owners in Gympie.

"It just seems to make more sense than encouraging the education of residents about the cat population.”

The council stripped mandatory cat registration from its laws in 2013 following changes to the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008.

Cat registration was brought back before the council by Cr Mark McDonald in April last year.

It was narrowly defeated by one vote; Crs McDonald, Daryl Dodt, Mal Gear and Glen Hartwig backed the motion.

The Division 8 seat was vacant at the time, so Mayor Mick Curran's deciding vote as chairman sealed the motion's fate.

In the last financial year, 206 of the 776 cats and dogs were reclaimed by owners, a return rate of 26 per cent. Of the remainder, 538 were sent to the RSPCA (388 cats compared to 150 dogs) and 28 died.

Gympie Times


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