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Cat curfew


Cats are highly valued companion pets in thousands of Australian households - almost 30% of homes have a cat. There are currently over 6500 cats registered with Council. In addition Council deals with over 600 cat related jobs each year. Information below is aimed at both the cat owner and neighbours of cat owners and has links to brochures discussing the rights and responsibilities of both.

Cat Curfew Pilot 2020

On 1 January 2020 Knox City Council introduced a 12-month pilot cat curfew, requiring cats to be confined to their owner’s premises between sunset and sunrise everyday, until 31 December 2020.

During the 12-month pilot trial, we invited community feedback and received over 700 survey responses. Council is reviewing the trial and community feedback to determine the future of the cat curfew in Knox. Further information will be available once Council makes a decision.

Council endorsed the cat curfew in the 2017-2021 Domestic Animal Management Plan.

Confine your cat

Cats that are kept inside at night generally live much longer than cats that are allowed outside.

Around 80% of accidents involving cats occur at night. Confining your cat at night will minimise the risk of injury and prevent it from fighting and wandering onto neighbouring properties.

Importantly, it also ensures your cat cannot kill or injure native wildlife. Contrary to popular belief, cats will hunt wildlife whether they are hungry or not.

Also ensure your cat always wears a bell (or two bells to ring against each other). This will warn wildlife that a cat is approaching.

Wandering cats are vulnerable to disease and attacks from other cats or dogs. Feline Aids, which is ultimately fatal for a cat, is transmitted from cat to cat through fighting.

Motor vehicles are also a major hazard for roaming cats.

Roaming cats also cause disputes and anxiety between neighbours, by causing dogs to bark, by fighting with other cats or defecating in neighbouring gardens.

If you’re interested, you can view resources about building cat proof fencing and cat enclosures.

What can I do about nuisance cats coming onto my property?

Not everyone loves cats, especially if the neighbourhood is occupied by many cats. Whether they are owned, semi-owned or stray and feral, cats become a nuisance in several ways. They can

  • trespass on a neighbour's property and cause damage to garden beds by defecating or create health concerns in children's sandpits;
  • cause undue noise due to fighting with owned or stray cats;
  • call and cry when seeking a mate;
  • spray offensively on front doors, mats and other areas; or
  • attack and kill wildlife.

Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, it is an offence for a cat to remain on private property without permission (even if there is no curfew) and landowners or occupiers may trap cats (both owned and unowned) found trespassing on their property.

If you have a cat coming onto your property causing a nuisance and you know who the owner of the cat is, we encourage you to speak with them first.

For Council to take enforcement action against a cat that is continually trespassing, the cat will need to be trapped and given to Council on more than one occasion. Once it has been established that the same cat is reoffending, Council can issue a Notice of Objection to the cat owner objecting to the presence of that cat being on your property. Customers need to be aware that if a Notice of Objection is issued, that their address will be identified.

If the cat continues to trespass Council, then may issue a fine/s to the cat owner each time it is impounded.

The use of cat traps

If a cat has been on your property more than once, without your permission, you may legally seize it, by containing it for collection by a Council.

Property owners and occupiers also have the right to seize or trap a cat if the Council has made an Order in relation to a cat curfew.

Once a cat has been trapped or contained it must be given to an Authorised Council Officer or taken to Council's Pound (Animal Aid, Coldstream) as soon as practical. Do not dump the cat in the wild; it is an offence to abandon a cat under the Act.

Any trap you use must be an approved, humane trap with a step place trigger. Hook operated cat traps must not be used for trapping cats, as the 'hook', used to hold the bait, can often injure a cat that has been caught. The use of hook operated traps would constitute an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.

View information on how to humanely trap cats.

What happens if my cat is trapped?

During business hours our Community Laws Officers will make all reasonable attempts to reunite you cat if it registered with Council and not committing an offence. If we are unable to identify the owner or if the cat is unregistered, then it will be taken to Council's pound (Animal Aid, Coldstream).

To reclaim your cat from the pound you will need to pay a reclaim fee and your cat will also need to be registered and de-sexed. A fine will also be issued to you if your cat is unregistered.

Do I still have to register my cat?

Yes. All cats over 3 months of age are required to be registered with Council. Any unregistered animal will be taken to Council's pound.

Pet registration is a State Government requirement under the Domestic Animal Act 1994. Registration is an important part of responsible pet ownership and help us reunite owners and pets if they get lost or are taken to the pound.

Compulsory Desexing of Cats

Compulsory desexing of cats was introduced in Knox from April 2011. This only applies to newly registered cats and not to those already currently registered. For more information, read our Compulsory Desexing of Cats page.

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