Since taking up the role of Regional Cat Management Officer in April, Dr Sara Balouch has been busy promoting responsible cat ownership in the community and has been actively engaging with key stakeholders and local councils.

Ten Lives won the tender to host the state government funded role at its New Town location. The role forms part of the TassieCat team with counterparts hosted at Cradle Coast Authority in the North-West and NRM North for the Northern region.

‘Ten Lives proposed that strategically it made sense to have the officer right here at the coal face of cat management,’ said Noel Hunt, Ten Lives Manager.

TassieCat, which was established in 2018, serves to promote responsible cat ownership in the community. Dr Sara hit the ground running and has already achieved an outstanding response to her work with stakeholders and councils in Southern Tasmania.

‘In a very short period of time, Sara has been very successful in engaging with stakeholders,’ Noel said.

Dr Sara has previously completed a PhD on the impact of agriculture on reptiles at Deakin University. She now brings her knowledge and passion for animals to the cat welfare sphere.

‘I love cats and have cats at home. It’s great to transition to something I love,’ Dr Sara said.

Dr Sara has found effective ways to get her message of responsible cat ownership to the community and has promoted responsible cat ownership with TassieCat booths at Agfest, cat shows, and the Australian Veterinary Association conference.

Dr Sara has been updating information sheets for cat owners and has been conducting training for councils. There are two areas of focus for the training. Training for the front line staff to enable them to effectively address enquiries from the public and be able to provide information about how the cat management act applies in the community. It also covers what resources are available on a range of responsible cat ownership topics. The second area of training allows Council staff to be authorised officers under the Cat Management Act.

‘Through front line staff and authorised officer training we are ensuring they have the skills and authority to handle situations that involve cats,’ Dr Sara said.

So far, 6 of the 12 Southern councils have been involved with more to complete training next year.

‘We are also looking to develop a project with councils. Options being considered include microchipping and desexing days, awareness programs, and citizen science projects,’ Dr Sara said.

Ten Lives is thrilled to have Dr Sara on the team to host and TassieCat initiative.