MANY of the more than 160 cats currently in the Ballarat Animal Shelter are waiting on death row, mainly due to slack registration and microchipping processes by their owners.
Cat owners are only half as likely to register their pets compared to dog owners, with local rescuers imploring pet owners to protect their loved animals.
Only 40 per cent of the estimated domestic cat population is registered with the City of Ballarat.
In contrast, dog owners are 70 per cent likely to register their pets.
Most recent statistics provided to The Courier by the City of Ballarat, from 2015-16 show there was an estimated 10,985 domestic cats in Ballarat of which only 4831 were registered with council.
Of the 1174 impoundments in that year, only 93 (eight per cent) were returned to their original home while 403 (34 per cent) were put down. The rest found new homes.
Brenda Guy from Chez Guy Small Animal Rescue said every week rescuers were called in to help “at least 20 cats”.
This week alone, a clowder of 14 cats was found at the airport, many flea-ridden after being discovered laying in shrub that had been sprayed in rabbit poison.
“At the end of the day, cats are not as valued as dogs,” she said.
“If a cat goes missing, a person can just go and get another one for free.
“It’s so important to have your cat desexed and microchipped.
“Every cat we adopt out is ready and we implore our owners to register the cat with the council.”
Ballarat Council Acting Director Infrastructure and Environment Steve Van Orsouw said stray cats have always been a an issue as they are so resilient in the wild.
“Some 935 cats have come into the shelter since City of Ballarat took over (from the RSPCA) last September, more than half are strays,” he said.
“There were 142 surrendered and the rest are brought in by surrounding shires.
All cats being registered with a Victorian council for the first time must be microchipped prior to registration.
All cats and dogs aged three months and over must be registered with council.
It is also a requirement to microchip all cats and dogs when they are sold or given away from pet shops, commercial breeders as well as pounds and shelters.
Chez Guy Small Animal Rescue is holding a cat adoption day at Petstock, in La Trobe Street on April 22 from 10am-2pm.