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Keeping a cat in Knox

Council provides many services and programs to help cat owners care for their beloved cat. Below are some helpful resources to keep your cat happy and healthy at home.

Responsible cat care

Cats need food, shelter, bedding and much more to ensure they live a long and happy life. 

There are minimum standards of day-to-day care you must provide for your furry friend.

Cat registration

Registering your cat and keeping your registration details up to date will help keep your cat safe. We can use the pet identification tag and microchip information to identify and return your cat if it gets lost.

Cats over 3 months of age must be microchipped and registered with Council. Registering your cat is the best way to avoid a fine. Pet registration is a state government rule under the Domestic Animal Act 1994.

If your pet is unregistered and gets lost, we will take it to Council’s pound Animal Aid in Coldstream. If your cat can be identified, Animal Aid will attempt to contact you. 

Register your cat

Find out more about registering your cat.

Free microchipping

All pet owners must microchip their cat. Animal Aid provides free microchipping for up to 2 cats or kittens to Knox residents.

Cat containment

From 10 April 2022, cat owners need to keep their cats on their property at all times.

This change is designed to:

  • keep cats safe
  • protect wildlife
  • reduce nuisance to neighbours.

Cats are at a much higher risk of illness and injury if allowed to roam. They can live up to 4 times longer if kept on your property.

Cats can live their best lives at home when they have a comfortable environment. This could be in your home, yard or in an enclosure.

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

We appreciate that this is a new rule for cat owners. For the first 6 months, our emphasis will be on assisting cat owners to adapt. No fines will be issued over this time.

After the amnesty period ends on 10 October 2022, a possible fine may apply for not keeping your cat on your property. A first offence fine is $91, based on penalty unit rates set by the Victorian Government. Cat containment is the best way to avoid these fines.

Can my cat still go outside?

Cats can still go outside, as long as it remains on your property. Cat enclosures and cat-proof fencing are some ways to stop a cat from wandering outside your property.

Cats can leave your property in a cat carrier, e.g. when taken to the vet or pet boarding facilities. You can also walk your cat outside if it is on a leash.

Resources to prepare for cat containment

It is important to look at ways to engage and enrich your animal to ensure it can adapt to its new living arrangements, for example, interactive toys.

The RSPCA and Zoos Victoria have developed a range of tools to help cat owners give their cats happy and enriched lives at home. 

Expert advice to help your cat thrive at home

Other helpful resources

Online session

On April 5, we will host a free webinar with RSPCA animal behaviourist, Jade Currie.

The webinar will provide expert advice on how to care for cats within their homes.

Topics include:

  • Indoor solutions
  • Environmental enrichment
  • Low-cost options for cat enclosures and enrichment
  • Common behavioural problems encountered in cats adjusting to a new way of life (confinement)

Register for webinar

This webinar will be recorded and made available on Council’s website.

Building permits for cat enclosures

In most cases, you do not need a building permit to build and construct a cat enclosure. This includes:

  • Portable cat enclosures and portable cat runs
  • Lightweight cat enclosures constructed of steel mesh material
  • Freestanding cat enclosures located in the backyard less than 10m2 in floor area, and less than 2.4m in height

But you may need a building permit if you want to build a cat enclosure that is attached to your home. This includes permanent attached roofed structures, like a patio or verandah.

Before you build any attached permanent structure, we recommend you contact us online or by calling 9298 8000 to see if a building permit is required.

Dealing with wandering cats

Cats are not allowed to trespass on other people's property. If you find a cat wandering on your property, we recommend:

  • discussing the matter with the cat owner. The owner may not be aware that their cat is wandering.
  • printing out and dropping a notification letter in the cat owner’s letterbox to let them know their cat is entering your property.

Find out more about dealing with nuisance cats.

Compulsory cat desexing

We introduced compulsory desexing of cats in April 2011 to help manage unwanted cats in our community.

This only applies to newly registered cats, not those already registered.

Free and discount desexing for concession cardholders

Knox concession cardholders can apply for free or discounted cat desexing at our pound, Animal Aid.

Applications close on 30 June 2022.

Apply now

The Victorian Government provides this grant for vulnerable and disadvantaged Knox residents to access discounted or free desexing services.

All you need is a concession card to be eligible.

Early age desexing

Cats and kittens over three months must be desexed to be registered.

You can get a temporary delay on desexing if your kitten is under six months.

You must provide:

  • a written request, or
  • a vet report stating your concerns.

You can then register your kitten if you meet other requirements (for example, your kitten is microchipped).

Be aware that the registration fee for an entire/not desexed cat will apply.

Please note you must give proof of desexing before you can renew the registration next year.

Desexing older cats

Any cat over the age of six months must be desexed before Council will accept its registration.

Desexing after lapsed registration

If the cat's registration has lapsed then your cat must be desexed before Council can renew it.

Exemptions for desexing

Cats must be desexed unless you and your cat are:

  • a member of an applicable organisation, or
  • registered as a Domestic Animal Business, namely a breeder.

 

Random door knocks

Council conducts random door knocks throughout Knox to check for unregistered animals.

Fines for dogs and cats found unregistered attract penalties of $330 each.

You need a permit to have more than two cats or two dogs on one property.

Learn more about animal permits.

Need help?

Contact us and we will get back to you.

Or call our Community Laws department on 9298 8000.

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