SOME frisky kittens stole the show at the launch of a responsible cat care campaign in Bathurst on Friday.
Called into service for a photo shoot at Stewart Street Veterinary Hospital, they wriggled, squirmed and occasionally broke free and began an enthusiastic ascent of Local Government Minister Paul Toole or Cat Protection Society CEO Kristina Vesk while the cameras flashed.
Which was appropriate, because the Cat Protection Society’s Good Neighbour Project includes a factsheet on how to keep indoor cats happy, healthy and, importantly, occupied.
It also includes factsheets on adapting cats to curfews and building cat-proof enclosures, a video on the benefits of early-age desexing and a training package for veterinarians.
Animal behaviourist Dr Jo Righetti spoke at the launch about setting up a house so cats are happy to be indoors, where they won’t get into fights, won’t harm wildlife and won’t be at risk of being stolen.
Dr Righetti said when she was asked to redesign a room for an indoor cat, she would begin by taking the books off the book shelf.
The ideal room for a cat, she said, was one where it could travel from one end to the other without touching the floor.
Mr Toole said he was happy to officially launch the program.
“Taking on a cat or dog is a big responsibility. We want people to be informed if they take on that task,” he said.
Ms Vesk said responsible ownership began before taking a cat home.
“There are some basic requirements that all pet owners need to consider before taking on the long-term commitment of animal ownership, such as pet registration,” she said.
“The NSW Government’s new online pet registry is also making the lives of pet owners a lot simpler.”
Using the online pet registry, which replaced the old paper-based system, owners can register cats and dogs, update contact details, report missing pets, transfer ownership and pay most lifetime registration fees from a computer or mobile device.
Ms Vesk said the cat’s role had changed over the years, but its importance had not.
“Cats once protected grain stores from rodents and now protect our mental health,” she said.