Responsible cat ownership
Owning a cat can bring great joy and companionship. Unlike dogs, cats are not pack animals so they lead a more independent lifestyle. Cats are also self-cleaning and do not need to be exercised. It is for these reasons that cats often suit people with busy lifestyles and families.
There are many gorgeous cats and kittens seeking new homes at our shelter throughout the year. Head over to the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home to browse available cats.
As a responsible cat owner, you have an obligation to care for the health and well being of your pet.
You have a duty to ensure your cat’s activities do not interfere with your neighbours or the environment. Encouraging a few simple lifestyle changes can prevent most common cat problems.
It is recommended that responsible cat owners:
- ensure that their cat is well fed and watered
- provide a comfortable indoor sleeping area and litter tray
- keep their cat and wildlife safe at night by confining their cat indoors
- have their cat desexed by four months of age unless they intend on undertaking controlled breeding
- accept responsibility when their cat is roaming outside
- place at least two bells, preferably three, on their cat’s collar
As with dogs, your cat must be microchipped and registered.
Benefits of controlling cats
While the legislation does not require it, there are many benefits to confining your cat. You can do this either by keeping it indoors permanently, creating a cat enclosure or installing fence additions that prevent escape, such as an electrical barrier system or rotating paddles that prevent the cat from being able to catch hold of the top of the fence.
Organisations such as the RSPCA and the Cat Protection Society actively encourage owners of cats to consider keeping their cats secure, especially during the night. Cats are nocturnal and are instinctively hunters, and can be hurt if roaming.
There are many risks to the wellbeing of a roaming cat, such as:
- Fighting with other cats
- Unfriendly dogs
- Being hit by cars
- Becoming lost or stolen
Roaming cats can also sometimes cause a nuisance in the community, such as:
- Spraying by male cats
- Defecating in garden beds
- Noise due to cat fights, calling and crying
- Fights with owned cats
- Cause dogs to bark
- Attacking wildlife
If you do choose to allow your cat to roam, please consider at least keeping it inside at night, and make sure it has an up to date microchip, as well as a collar and tag. Preferably a collar should have at least two to three bells on it, to prevent the cat learning how to move in a way that prevents a single bell from ringing.
Cats are prohibited in some areas
Cats are prohibited from food preparation or consumption places and wildlife protection areas. If your cat is found in a place where cats are prohibited you, as the cat owner, are guilty of an offence.
Are you experiencing problems with nuisance cats?
The Companion Animals Act 1998 states a cat is a nuisance if it persistently makes a noise, which unreasonably interferes with the well being of neighbours or if it repeatedly damages other people’s property.
If the Ranger is satisfied that a cat is a nuisance, the Ranger can issue an order to the owner of the cat requiring the owner to prevent the behaviour that is causing the nuisance. Fines apply to owners that breach a nuisance order.
If you can actually identify who owns the cat, first discuss your concerns directly with the owner.
If the owner is unapproachable or does not agree that the problem exists, you should contact Council’s customer service officers on 9391 7000.
As cats are permitted to roam, Council cannot collect cats that are simply entering to your property. If you would prefer to keep cats away from your property, it is recommended that you deter the cat using humane means.
There are very limited circumstances where council can collect a cat that has been seized or trapped by a resident, such as:
- Welfare reasons: The cat is injured, visibly sick or unwell, or is a kitten less than 8 weeks old
- The cat is in a public Food Preparation/Consumption Area or a Wildlife Protection Area as designated by the council (there are currently no Wildlife Protection Areas designated within the Woollahra Council area)
- If the seizure is reasonable and necessary to protect a person or animal from injury or death
If you believe that a cat on your property would meet one of the above criteria, please call Customer Services on 9391 7000 to discuss this with the Companion Animals Officer. Please note that you may be required to sign a statutory declaration as to the reason for seizure if the officer deems it necessary.