Cats are highly valued companion pets in thousands of Australian households. We often don't notice cats as much as dogs due to their size and nature, but they can still have an impact on our community and environment.
Responsible cat ownership means ensuring your cat is:
- vaccinated and has annual check-ups at the vet
- identified and registered with Council
- desexed (unless you intend to allow it to breed)
- confined at night either indoors or in a cattery to prevent it from wandering
- provided with a healthy varied diet.
If you follow these tips for responsible cat ownership, both you and your cat will reap the benefits and also minimise potential disruption to the environment and the community.
Council provides certain services and assistance in dealing with nuisance cat complaints.
Annual permits for non-desexed cats
If you own a cat that is not desexed by four months of age, you are required to pay an $80 annual permit in addition to the one-off lifetime pet registration fee (from $50 to $80 for non-desexed cats).
Owners can pay for this permit via the NSW Pet Registry website or in person at Council's offices:
- Customer Service Centre: Corner of Campbell and Vulcan streets, Moruya
Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm
T: 4474 1000
- Narooma Depot: 32 Glasshouse Rocks Road, Narooma
Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm
T: 4476 4144
- Batemans Bay Depot: 150 Princes Highway, Batemans Bay
Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm
T: 4472 4035
Prevent your cat from wandering
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.
Cats allowed to roam freely have a greater likelihood of becoming lost and, if not recovered, could join a pack of stray cats. Roaming cats can also cause disputes and anxiety between neighbours by causing dogs to bark, fighting with other cats, killing native animals or defecating in neighbouring gardens.
Confine your cat at night
To minimise disruption to your community always keep your cat confined to your premises and inside at night. Cats that are kept inside at night generally live much longer than cats that are allowed to stray.
Many accidents involving cats occur at night, so confining your cat will minimise the risk of injury and prevent it from fighting and wandering onto neighbouring properties. Confining your cat also ensures your cat cannot kill or injure native wildlife. Contrary to popular belief, cats will hunt wildlife whether they are hungry or not.
Ensure your cat always wears a bell (or two bells to ring against each other), this will warn wildlife when a cat is approaching. or consider using a Catbib, which can reduce small native animal predation by almost 50%.
Eurobodalla CatBib program
Roaming domestic cats are a significant conservation issue because they can hunt, harass and compete with wildlife. Their hunting targets in Eurobodalla include birds, lizards, frogs and many native mammals, such as bandicoots and gliders. Roaming domestic cats are also more at risk of fighting, getting injured and getting run over by cars.
Murdoch University Research has scientifically proven that CatBibs work to stop more than 80% of cats from catching birds and reduce small animal predation by almost half. They also reduce the likelihood cats will roam and fight with other cats.
What are CatBibs and how do they work?
Made from neoprene, a CatBib attaches to a cat's collar and hangs loosely over their chest. It works by gently interfering with the precise timing and coordination a cat needs for successful hunting. When the cat pounces, the bib gets in the way, which allows the split second needed for escape. It also serves as a brightly coloured visual warning as the cat creeps up on its victim.
- CatBibs do not interfere with any of the cat’s other activities, they only affects the cat’s ability to catch birds.
- CatBibs are safe for cats to wear, and are attached to the cat's safety collar by Velcro so it can release if it snags. The CatBib should always be used in conjunction with a safety collar. The best collars have a stretch insert and a break-away buckle so the cat can free itself if the collar snags.
- The material is very flexible, stretchy and lightweight and is comfortable for the cat to wear.
- The CatBib does not interfere in any way with any of the cat's necessary or desired movements. They can run, jump, climb trees, go up and down stairs, go in and out cat doors, sleep, eat, drink and be happy. It only stops cats from catching wildlife.
In this short video, you can watch one of Eurobodalla's cats in action wearing a CatBib and hear Council's natural resource officer Courtney Fink-Downes explain how wildlife-saving CatBibs work.
Can the CatBib be left on all the time?
Yes, but it is not recommended. The CatBib is comfortable for the cat to wear, but it was designed to be worn when a cat is outside.
It’s recommended that CatBibs be removed when a cat is inside at night. Locking a cat in at night is recommended for several reasons: darkness makes it harder for drivers to see cats so they could be hit by vehicles, and many native animals are active at night.
- The small (triangular) size CatBib has been university tested and found to stop 81% of known bird-killing cats from catching any birds (that’s four out of five cats stopped from catching birds).
- For those cats that defeat the small CatBib, there is the larger (squareish) CatBib available.
Please note, the size is based on the cat’s drive to hunt NOT the size of the cat.
The CatBib was designed with easy care in mind. It's made of thin neoprene, backed on both sides with nylon. The material keeps its shape, is durable and colour fast.
It’s good cat care to remove the CatBib to clean it every now and then (consider having a backup handy to switch to). When it gets dirty, wiped it with a damp cloth or put in the washing machine and hang it to dry.
Get a free cat bib
Council is offering a free CatBib to all cat owners who have a microchipped cat(s). To get your free CatBib:
- ask your vet
- use our online form to request a CatBib (you will need your cat's microchip number).
Frequently asked questions about cat ownership
Is my neighbour's cat allowed in my yard?
Cats are allowed to wander outside of their premises, but they are not allowed to cause a persistent nuisance.
If the cat is causing a nuisance by defecating, attacking, fighting etc, we suggest that you speak with the cat's owner before registering a formal complaint with our Rangers.
Are cats required to be kept indoors at night?
No, but it is strongly recommended as a way to minimise disruption to your neighbourhood and wider community. It also ensures your cat cannot kill or injure native wildlife.
What should I do if there is a noisy cat in my yard?
Generally this will only be a passing phase associating with mating activity and will most likely stop within a few days.
If the situation persists and you are able to identify the owner of the cat, try to resolve the issue through discussion with the owner. If no resolution is possible, contact Council's Rangers and you may be asked to complete a diary to demonstrate the persistence of the noise.
What can I do if a cat is harassing my caged birds?
Firstly, try to ensure that the cage is placed in a safe and secure location. Then, if you can identify the cat's owner, try to resolve the issue through discussion with them.
A cat may only be seized by Council's Rangers if it is reasonable and necessary for the protection of another animal.
What can I do about feral cats in my area?
The Companion Animals Act 1998 is not designed to address or regulate the issue of 'feral' animals. Instead it is designed to assist in the management of pets.
If you are having issues with feral cats, contact Council's Rangers to arrange for a cat trap and any cat seized should be taken to the Council pound as soon as possible.
What do I do if my neighbour's cat is attacking wildlife?
If the owner of the animal can be identified, try to resolve the issue through discussion with the owner.
If no resolution is possible, you can then contact Council's Rangers and register a formal complaint. You may be asked to provide evidence of the cat attacking/killing wildlife.
Can I trap cats in my backyard?
A cat should not be trapped unless it is causing a nuisance.
The most humane and effective way to capture nuisance, feral or abandoned cats is with a cat trap, but trapping a cat can still be very stressful on the animal. Because of this, we recommend you always speak with a Ranger before doing trying to trap a cat.
A cat may be considered a nuisance if it:
- makes a noise that persistently occurs or continues to such a degree or extent that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any other premises, or repeatedly damages anything outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept
- attacks any animal (other than vermin).
Any animal that is trapped must be returned to its owner or Council's Rangers as soon as possible, and within 72 hours.
We can help you
If you have any questions about cats or feedback to improve this information, please phone Council's Rangers:
- T: 4474 1019
- E: Council Rangers