Feral (wild) cats – and domestic cats on the prowl at night – have a devastating effect on native wildlife, which has not evolved to coexist with an efficient predator like the cat.
In April 2017, Margaret Christian of the Society prepared an brief explanatory memorandum which eventually accompanied a questionnaire for the people of the Island, conducted by the Norfolk Island Regional Council. The survey form presented three options:
Option 1 – Do nothing
Option 2 – Ban cats from Norfolk Island
Option 3 – Allow continued cat ownership under controlled conditions.
The survey revealed that 12% of respondents wanted cats banned completely and another ~68% wanted cats to be controlled. There was a vocal campaign by the cat lovers to be engaged in the survey. They took out half page advertisements in the paper, but the results showed that they were in a minority.
Unfortunately, the changes in governance came soon after and there has not been much progress towards establishing a Pound, one of the highest priority proposals that came out of the survey. However, the present Island-wide cat monitoring and some feral cat control has been funded by the Australian Government, using the survey results as evidence of the community’s attitude supportive of control.
Before ceasing, the Cat Welfare and Wildlife Protection Association of Norfolk Island transferred a significant quantum of its residual funds to the Society to ensure that any cats trapped would be treated humanely.