Updated: Sep 30
Australia has declared a "war on feral cats." It is rolling out a cruel and diabolical 5-year plan to cut down the feral cat population.
The plan includes a killing machine called “The Felixer.” The device has cameras that can detect when a cat is passing by, and lasers that will then shoot a toxic gel onto the cat. When the cats groom themselves, they ingest the toxic poison and die a slow and painful death.
The Felixer grooming traps have already been tested on a remote island in Australia. A lead researcher on the project reports that within 6 weeks, two-thirds of the feral cat population was killed by the Felixers.
The Australian government should be using its creativity and resources to invest in research and development of nonlethal birth control that addresses the cat overpopulation crisis right at its source!
Of course feral cats have feelings, just like our beloved companion animals do. Tell the Australian government to drop this sickening plan and to work instead on permanent, humane solutions, not cruel temporary fixes.
Please sign our petition, which will send your message to Australian Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek, and also to the Australian Department of Climate Change, Energy, The Environment, and Water.
If you are unable to access the petition, you can send your comments directly to
If you prefer, there is a formal process to submit feedback, which can be found here:
The deadline for comment is December 11, 2023. The formal process involves several steps.
Why are there so many feral cats in Australia?
Cats were first introduced to Australia by European settlers in the late 18th century. Initially brought on ships to control rats, these cats eventually made their way into the wild. Without any natural predators and with abundant prey, the cat population exploded, leading to the cat overpopulation crisis we see today.
Once introduced, they adapted to various Australian environments, from arid landscapes to lush forests. While many people will try to label feral cats as villains in Australia's biodiversity tragedy, it's crucial to remember that they are a product of human activity. In their native environments, cats face various predators, but Australia lacks these natural checks on the feral cat population. This has allowed the population to grow tremendously.
What’s the problem with feral cats in Australia?
Because cats are not native to Australia and were brought over by humans, they are considered an “invasive” species. Invasive species are plants or animals that come from a different place and cause problems in their new home. They can be really harmful to the local plants and animals that were there first, because there is more competition for resources.
When discussing the impact of feral cats on Australia's native wildlife, we need to consider the natural instincts that drive these felines. Cats are predators by nature; their instinct to hunt is deeply ingrained and not something they consciously choose. In their natural habitat, this behavior contributes to the balance of the ecosystem. However, in a foreign environment like Australia, where they have no natural predators and the wildlife is not adapted to fend them off, these instincts can wreak havoc.
We can draw a parallel to other animals with tendencies that humans consider destructive. For example, beavers cut down trees to build dams. In their native environment, this activity creates new habitats for other species. But when introduced into non-native regions, the same activity can lead to ecological disaster. Just as we wouldn't blame beavers for following their instincts, we shouldn’t punish feral cats for doing the same.
When humans introduced cats to Australia, the animals didn't sign up to be invasive species. They're simply doing what comes naturally to them: hunting for food and trying to survive. While the ecological consequences of their actions can be problematic, the cats themselves are not moral agents capable of making ethical choices.
Of course, it is still important to find ways to manage the feral cat population to protect Australia's native wildlife. However, punishing cats is not a solution. Rather than demonizing feral cats, efforts could be better spent on finding solutions that respect their natural instincts while minimizing the damage they cause.
In understanding that feral cats are acting on instinct, not malice, we can approach the dilemma they pose with a sense of compassion and ethical responsibility. This humane viewpoint should lead to more balanced, effective strategies for managing both the survival of native species and the welfare of feral cats.
Why Poisoning Cats Isn’t a Solution
Poisoning is not just inhumane; it is also ineffective as a long-term solution for controlling animal populations.
One of the most pressing issues with the use of poison to control animal populations is the ethical implication of causing suffering. Poison is rarely quick or painless; it often results in prolonged agony for animals.
Pesticides and poisons can lead to resistant populations. As the more susceptible animals die off, those with natural resistance survive and reproduce. This can lead to people using increasingly toxic poisons to achieve the same effect, creating a dangerous cycle of ecological disruption.
Poisoning offers a quick reduction in numbers but doesn't solve the underlying causes of overpopulation. In the absence of predators or competition, populations can quickly rebound, leading to a never-ending cycle of killing animals to save other animals.
Australia’s “War on Cats”
Australia’s Environmental Minister, Tanya Plibersek, said “We are declaring war on feral cats.”
Australia has launched numerous plans to kill off the cat population over the years. Back in 2015, the government outlined a plan to kill 2 million cats by 2020. Part of this plan involved airdropping poisonous sausages for the cats to eat and die an agonizing death.
The Felixer machines are only one part of Australia’s latest attempt to eradicate cats. Baiting with poison and allowing people to hunt cats are also proposed “solutions.”
Ethical, Permanent Solutions Needed!
Killing animals should never be a solution, even when the goal is to save other animals! The Australian government should work to address the root cause of the cat overpopulation crisis: uncontrolled breeding and births.
We hope you'll take the time to submit feedback formally through the Australian government's website. If that is too time-consuming, please still express your views by signing our petition below!