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Cats

Cat legislation aims to reduce the number of unwanted cats in the community and the number that are euthanised each year. Microchipping and registration will also ensure your cat is returned to you if it becomes lost.

Responsible cat ownership

Domestic cats make excellent companions because they are typically loving, playful, and clean. They are easy to care for and relatively low maintenance. However, owning a cat is a long-term commitment and their needs must be carefully considered before you take on this responsibility.

Water

Pet cats must have access to clean drinking water at all times. Keep spill-proof water bowls in at least two locations and ensure the containers are refilled and cleaned as required.

Stagnant water could become breeding ground for bacteria, mould, viruses and parasites.

Food

Pet cats need a well-balanced, meat-based diet to stay fit and healthy. Cats should be fed at least once a day. To avoid overfeeding divide the daily feed into two smaller meals. As a general guide, use the feeding instructions on the back of the cat food packet to guide how much to feed your cat. These instructions will be broken down into different amounts depending on your cat’s age and weight.

A balanced diet will consider individual nutritional requirements based on age, amount of exercise and physiological needs (e.g. during pregnancy, lactation and cold weather). Talk to your veterinarian if you’re unsure of how much you should be feeding your cat.

Housing

Pet cats must have access to adequate shelter from sun, wind and rain, including a weather-proof sleeping area with a bed.

A backyard cat enclosure or cat run allows pet cats to play safely outside while eliminating potential hazards such as with traffic, other pets and wildlife. Most pet cats adapt well to living indoors with access to an outdoor enclosure, particularly if this is commenced from an early age.

Cat-proofing

Take care to protect cats from hazards within your home such as electrical appliances, power cords, household poisons, and water sources such as toilets or swimming pools.

If you are going to be away e.g. holiday, arrange for suitable accommodation and carers, or ensure a responsible person is providing the necessary daily care for the cat.

Exercise

All cats need physical exercise. Cats that are active are more likely to live longer and healthier lives. Just like humans, cats need exercise to keep their heart, muscles and bones fit and strong.

Cats are also sensory driven creatures. Creating an environment that stimulates your cat’s senses and provides opportunities to exercise natural instincts is especially important for indoor cats.

Pet cats need to have plenty of toys, places to hide, climb and perch and things to watch. All of these help create an enriched environment and may help prevent behavioural problems such as aggression, excessive grooming and scratching, etc.

Health check

Annual or regular visits to a veterinarian can help diagnose, treat or prevent health problems before they become life threatening. Routine cat vaccinations, worming and flea control are the basics of feline medical care.

As well as the above basic cat ownership information, there are also legislated requirements which cat owners must follow. Under the Cat Act 2011, all cats are required to:

  • be registered, sterilised and microchipped by the age of 6 months
  • must wear a collar and registration tag at all times when in public.

In addition, the City of Stirling promotes responsible cat ownership practices and encourages that cats:

  • Be kept indoors after dark (or at least contained on their own property)
  • Wear a bell on their collar to alert potential prey of their presence
  • Be prevented from exhibiting “nuisance” behaviours, such as:
    • Entering other people’s properties
    • Creating excessive noise
    • Urinating, spraying, or defecating on other people’s property or in public areas
    • Preying on birds and other wildlife
    • Fighting.

Ensuring you provide your cat with adequate food, water, and exercise, and contain it within your property will go a long way toward preventing your cat from engaging in “nuisance behaviour”.

Nuisance cats

Find out about what you can do about nuisance cats in your area.

What can I do about nuisance cat behaviour in my area?

Where residents regularly observe nuisance cat behaviour it is generally best to have a neighbourly chat with their owner (if known) and let them know what their cat is doing. It’s often the case that the owner doesn’t even know their cat is creating a problem and the matter can be resolved simply and amicably by talking about the issue.

If this approach doesn’t have the desired result, residents may wish to try natural deterrents. Scattering the following natural materials in your yard where the cat is entering, or roaming might deter the cat from returning. If you have pets of your own, it is important to consider whether this will impact them too and if these will be a suitable solution for your home:

  • citrus peels (Lemon, Lime, Orange, Mandarin, etc)
  • coffee grounds
  • oil of lavender
  • garlic
  • cinnamon
  • lemongrass
  • eucalyptus
  • citronella
  • vinegar (sprayed on specific areas).

There is also a selection of humane commercial cat deterrent solutions available for purchase from online and in-store retailers which can be set up in your own yard.

Where the above actions have been taken but haven’t resolved the issue you can report the matter to the City via our online enquiries for by contacting us on (08) 9205 8555.

What can the City do?

Where the recommendations have been attempted but are not successful, the matter may be escalated and the cats impounded. Although officers are appropriately trained and authorised, the City only uses impounding as a last resort as the experience can be emotionally distressing for the captured cat.

When a cat is impounded by the City, one of the following scenarios will take place:

If the cat does not comply with certain provisions of the Cat Act 2011 or the Keeping and Control of Cats Local Law 1999, the City will hold the cat at our Cat Management Facility and contact the owner (where possible) to advise where collection can be made. Please note that fees and penalties will apply prior to the cat being released.

If the cat does not comply with the Cat Act 2011 at all (including if it is not registered, microchipped, sterilised, or wearing a collar), it will be taken to the Cat Management Facility and may be rehomed if an owner is not identifiable.

If the cat is registered, microchipped, sterilised, wearing a collar, and not within a cat prohibited area, the City will release the cat.

To avoid the above scenarios cat owners are encouraged to practice responsible cat ownership and take active measures to ensure their cat is registered and sufficiently contained on their own property wherever possible.

Unowned cats

When members of the community provide food for unowned cats but do not want to take ownership of them the cats remain unsterilized, unidentifiable, unvaccinated and may become problematic to other residents as a result of their predatory nature, breeding habits and territorial behaviour.

Unowned and abandoned cats should be handed over to organisations such as Cat Haven, RSPCA or other rescue groups as soon as possible. Cat Haven undertakes and manages cat reclaiming and additional services for cats that are deemed suitable for rehoming on behalf of the City of Stirling.

Cat permits

A Cat Permit is not required for most domestic cat owners and is only issued under the following circumstances:

  • If you own 2-3 cats and live in a fauna-protected buffer zone
  • If you own 3 cats and live anywhere in the City.

Fauna-protection buffer zones extend 200 metres from the boundaries of cat-prohibited areas. A cat permit is required if you live within a buffer zone and own 2 or more cats.

Cat prohibited area map

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If you intend to own four or more cats, you will need to apply for a cattery permit
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For more information on responsible cat ownership, to obtain a cat permit, or to report your cat missing, please contact the City’s Customer Contact Centre on (08) 9205 8555.