A new initiative has been launched to help curb the toll on native wildlife caused by domestic cats across the state.
Domestic cats are estimated to kill around 67 million native mammals, 83 million native reptiles and 80 million native birds in Australia each year.
Under the new initiative, RSPCA NSW will engage councils across the state, providing education and advice for communities on the importance of safely containing cats at home.
The councils include Blue Mountains, Byron, Shoalhaven, Tweed and Kyogle, Walgett, and Weddin.
The project will involve council representatives, veterinarians, companion animal groups, cat owners, the general community, and wildlife groups in each council area.
School curriculum-linked resources also will be developed.
RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman said the mammoth four-year project was designed to change attitudes and behaviours in the community towards responsible cat ownership.
“We are excited to be working with our council partners and communities closely over the next four years to initiate real change in the way people care for cats as companion animals,” Mr Coleman said.
“Our job is to help people help animals, and in doing that we can ensure our furry feline friends will live longer, happier, healthier lives and so too will our native birds and wildlife.”
Cats are instinctive killers and incredibly efficient predators that will hunt even when they are well-fed at home. Each roaming pet cat in Australia is estimated to kill on average 115 native prey animals each year, including mammals, birds, and reptiles.
The program is supported by a $2.5 million grant from the Environmental Trust.