Cats are highly valued companion pets in thousands of Australian households. We often do not notice cats as much as dogs due to their size and nature however, they can still have quite an impact on our community and environment. There are a number of responsibilities you have as a cat owner.
Council provides certain services and assistance in dealing with nuisance cat complaints. The most humane and effective way to capture nuisance, feral or abandoned cats is with a cat trap.
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.
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; confining your cat 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 when a cat is approaching.
Catbibs are also an effective tool that reduce small native animal predation by almost 50% and prevent over 80% of cats from catching birds. You can read more about CatBibs and Eurobodalla's CatBib Program below.
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.
Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about cats:
Q: Is my neighbour's cat allowed in my yard?
A: Cats are allowed to wander outside of their premises, however they are not allowed to cause a persistent nuisance.
If the cat is causing a nuisance by defecating, attacking, fighting etc, Council suggests that you speak with the cat's owner before registering a formal complaint with Council's Rangers.
Q: Are cats required to be kept indoors at night?
A: No, however to minimise disruption to your community, it is recommended that you keep your cat confined to your premises and inside at night. It also ensures your cat cannot kill or injure native wildlife.
Q: What should I do if there is a noisy cat in my yard?
A: 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.
Q: What can I do if a cat is harassing my caged birds?
A: Firstly, try to ensure that the cage is placed in a safe and secure location. A cat may only be seized by Council's Rangers if it is reasonable and necessary for the protection of another animal.
Q: What can I do about 'feral' cats in my area?
A: The Companion Animals Act 1998 is not designed to address or regulate the issue of 'feral' animals. Rather, it is designed to assist in the management of pets.
If you are having issues with 'feral' cats, you can 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.
Q: What do I do if my neighbour's cat is attacking wildlife?
A: 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.
Q: Can I trap cats in my backyard?
A: A cat should not be trapped unless it is causing a nuisance. The trapping of a cat can be very stressful on the animal and therefore, Council recommends you always speak with a Ranger before doing so.
A cat may be a nuisance when 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'. A cat may also be a nuisance if it 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, or within 72 hours.
Eurobodalla CatBib Program
Using a CatBib can reduce domestic cat predation on local wildlife and improving cat welfare.
Roaming domestic cats are a significant conservation issue because they may hunt, harass and compete with wildlife. Their hunting targets include birds, lizards, frogs and many native mammals including bandicoots and gliders in Eurobodalla Shire. Roaming domestic cats are also more at risk of fighting, getting injured and getting run over by cars.
Due to the threat that domestic cats pose to wildlife, Eurobodalla Shire Council is implementing a program to reduce domestic cat hunting of our native animals.
Council is offering a free CatBib to all cat owners who have a microchipped cat(s).
You can read about Council's CatBib Program and apply for a free CatBib:
If you have any questions about our CatBib Program, please phone Courtney Fink-Downes on:
- T: 4474 7493
- E: Courtney Fink-Downes
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