Council has introduced a dusk till dawn cat curfew from 1 July 2023.
A cat curfew is a key action in our Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) 2021 – 2025, which was informed by community feedback.
Community consultation on the DAMP highlighted a strong preference for a cat curfew, with 90% of respondents in support of a nighttime cat curfew.
Many organisations, including the RSPCA and the Cat Protection Society of Victoria, are supportive of curfew measures and many Victorian Councils have already introduced such measures.
What is a cat curfew?
A cat curfew is a specified time when cats are not allowed outside of your property boundary. Our cat curfew will be in place from dusk till dawn.
Cats will be required to be confined to their owner’s property during the following times (subject to review):
- Non-daylight savings hours – between 6.30pm and 6.30am
- Daylight savings hours – between 8.30pm and 6.30am
Why have a cat curfew?
Council is introducing this curfew to protect the welfare of animals in our community. Many factors have been considered prior to introducing this curfew, including community feedback, nuisance complaints and the impact on wildlife.
While cats are highly valued pets in our community, serious problems can occur if they are allowed to roam outdoors between dusk and dawn. Keeping cats indoors at night will reduce the chance of them breeding, fighting, becoming injured and killing wildlife.
How will the curfew be regulated?
From 1 July 2023 enforcement activities will commence, in line with the process already applied for wandering dogs. This is planned to include:
- Education for cat owners of their responsible pet ownership requirements
- Issuing Warnings and Notices to Comply where appropriate
- Issuing Infringement Notices to offenders where appropriate
The importance of cat registration
Registering your cat and ensuring your registration details remain up to date will help keep your cat safe. Registration details will be used to reunite pets with their owners if they are lost, or if they are captured through the Council’s Cat Trapping Program.
As per the Domestic Animal Act 1994, all cats over three months of age must be microchipped and registered with Council. Click the following link to find out how to register your cat.
If your cat is found wandering during curfew hours and it is not registered, you will be required to register it before it is released. If you are not able to attend within the timeframe given by the Authorised Officer, then your cat will be transported to Council's designated Animal Shelter.
How can I train my cat to stay indoors at night?
Resources to assist in transitioning your cat to remain indoors or in an outdoor enclosure at night can be found at the Safe Cat website. Some simple methods include:
- Feeding your cat indoors at night
- Keep your cat indoors for increased periods of time after they have eaten
- Provide a warm, dry bed to snuggle in
- Install a cat run, cat enclosure or cat-proof fencing so your cat can roam safely on your property.
Additional resources to help prepare for the cat curfew
The RSPCA and Zoos Victoria have developed a range of tools to help cat owners give their cats happy and enriched lives at home. These resources are available from the Safe Cat website.