Cats in The Community
Take a poll of pet owners, and most will tell you that their pet is very much a part of the family. Most also will tell you that all pets are as different as the people who love them. However, one thing remains constant regardless of whether your pet is a cat, dog, rabbit, turtle, or leopard gecko…their care and well-being is a top priority.
Most domestic animals are confined to a cage or designated areas of your home to keep them safe from outside dangers such as predatory animals, cars, and humans who may not have the same appreciation for them as those who love them dearly. Often you will read articles about keeping your dogs leashed and not letting them roam free, but what about the cats? Of all animals, confining a cat to a select few areas can be tricky business.
By nature, cats are mysterious, curious, and independent creatures that receive and give love on their own terms. Many jokes have been made and children’s books written about the jams their curiosity can get them into if allowed to roam without boundaries.
Following are a few suggestions and thoughts to ponder from The Good Neighbour Project, a Cat Protection Society based in Australia. Since 1958, this organization has been caring for cats. Their work includes re-homing surrendered and abandoned cats and kittens, pairing them with their forever family, teaching owners how to care for their new, furry family member, and minimizing the impact of cat ownership on local communities. The group chose its name because it realizes a large part of responsible pet ownership is being a good neighbor, and cat ownership is no different.
Being a responsible cat owner means ensuring the welfare and well-being of your cat as well as protecting the local fauna and neighborhood amenities. Put simply, it means being a good neighbor.
Being a good neighbor means different things in different places. Whether you live in a condo or a house, in the city or the suburbs, or bordering a wildlife-sensitive area, get to know the rules as they relate to pet ownership in your County, Homeowners’ Association, etc.
Confining your cat to your property means they are at a reduced risk of being trapped, killed, or injured by cars, other animals, or people, and are at a reduced risk of exposure to poisons, disease, and parasites.
Ensure your cat has a collar with appropriate tags, is microchipped, and its vaccinations (including rabies) are up-to-date.
Remember, it is best not to allow your cat to consider your neighbors’ property as part of its territory. Although you may have a neighbor who wouldn’t mind, neighbors can change. If your cat-loving, nextdoor neighbor moves out and a neighbor who doesn’t like cats moves in, this could be disastrous and potentially deadly for your cat. It is best to err on the side of caution and keep your cat on your property.
Trapping regulations in Georgia primarily cover fur-bearing wildlife such as mink, raccoons, foxes, opossums, muskrast, skunks, bobcats, and weasels. However, residents are reminded that Chatham County’s Animal Control ordinances (which are observed in The Landings) apply to both dogs and cats. Section §22-404, item # 2 reads, “Any cat deemed a nuisance to adjacent property owners or Animals Services may be trapped and brought to Animal Services as an at large animal.” Chatham County Animal Services offers traps for the removal of nuisance animals.They have only a limited number of traps, so there could be a wait in excess of 30 days. However, if you are able to catch the animal in your own trap, you can call Animal Services (912-652-6575) for removal Monday through Friday. Alternately, you can contact an animal group such as the Skidaway Cat Alliance Team to assist with trapping stray cats. For more information about the Skidaway Cat Alliance Team, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you choose to a trap an unwanted animal on your own, regardless of the type of animal, Havahart® Live Animal Traps (at right) are recommended, as they allow you to remove and relocate the animal without harming it. Although trapping regulations are primarily concerned with trapping wildlife, there are a few that should be applied when trapping nuisance animals as well.
- Do not place a trap on another resident’s property without consent, preferably in writing.
- Inspect your trap at least once every 24 hours.
- Make sure your name and contact information are on the trap.
- Use the most humane and appropriate trap available.
To view Chatham County’s Animal Control Ordinances, visit bit.ly/2ZlMXOH. To find out more about Georgia’s trapping regulations, visit bit.ly/3qExmp6. To learn more about The Good Neighbor Project, visit bit.ly/3s11H1s.