Domestic cat movements in NSW bushland to go under spotlight

There are hopes a tracking program involving up to 100 domestic cats in the New South Wales central tablelands will help protect some of the region’s native species.

The Central Tablelands Local Land Services project will kick off in March at Lithgow and will involve attaching GPS devices on cats for up to 11 days.

Spokesman Peter Evans said it would challenge a common belief by cat owners that their pets did not leave their backyards.

He said while feral cats posed the greatest risk to natural habitats, many people were unaware of how far domestic cats roamed into bushland.

“Obviously, there’s less of a problem with the domestic cats because they have access to feed and water and things like that and they’re less inclined to go searching for food,” Mr Evans said.

“But their natural instinct as a hunter definitely means that they may still be harming native animals and insects and things.”

Mr Evans said the aim was to educate cat owners about where their animals travelled and help create behavioural change.

He said national parks and other natural reserves surrounding Lithgow made it an ideal location for their project.

“Lithgow’s proximity to a large amount of bushland [means] there are some high biodiversity assets, and we’re wanting to see how far the cats may roam into the bushland,” he said.

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