Cat curfew

Hepburn Shire Council's sunset to sunrise cat curfew is in place

Hepburn Shire Council's Cat Curfew was introduced on 1 July 2023, as a key action in our Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) 2021 – 2025, which was informed by community feedback.

More than 90% of respondents to the DAMP survey were in support of a night-time cat curfew. 

Many organisations (including the RSPCA and the Cat Protection Society of Victoria) are supportive of curfew 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 is in place across the Shire from sunset until sunrise.

Hepburn Shire Council published the cat curfew in the Government Gazette in April 2023, making it an order that cats are required to be confined to their owner’s property between the hours of sunset to sunrise unless securely contained or controlled.

To comply with this order, cats are required to be confined to their owner's property during the following times:

  • 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 introduced the curfew to protect the welfare of a range of animals in our community.  Many factors were considered prior to introducing this curfew, including community feedback, nuisance complaints, and the impact on wildlife.

We know that cats are highly valued pets in our community. However, serious problems can occur if they are allowed to roam outdoors between sunset and sunrise.  Keeping cats indoors at night reduces the chance of them becoming injured, breeding, fighting, and killing wildlife.

"The fact is, the more time a pet cat spends safe at home, the less risk of injury or death from road accidents, fighting, and disease. A pet cat kept safe at home can live up to four times longer than a cat left to roam."

Australian Veterinary Association 2016 

How is the curfew being regulated?

Regulation of the Cat Curfew is consistent with how other animal related matters are followed up, as per Council’s Community Safety Animal Management Procedure. This may include:

  • Education for cat owners on their responsible pet ownership requirements
  • Issuing Warnings and Notices to Comply where appropriate
  • Issuing Infringement Notices to offenders where appropriate

Community members are encouraged to contact Council if there is a known cat in the neighborhood that regularly trespasses onto their property in the evening.

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 are 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. Council offers a free first period of registration and ongoing fee reductions for desexed and microchipped pets. Click the following link to find out how to register your cat.

If your cat is found wandering during curfew hours and 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?

Simple methods to help transition your cat to remain indoors or in an outdoor enclosure at night include:

  • Feed 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 with the cat curfew
  • Providing a safe space at home for a cat to thrive can be simple, fun and rewarding.

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 at the Safe Cat website

If you'd like to receive tips directly to your email inbox, you can sign up for the Safe Cat Safe Wildlife newsletter at the following link: Join Us (

We have a free booklet How to build cat enclosures and cat proof fencing available for collection at our Duke Street Office in Daylesford and our hubs in Creswick, Clunes and Trentham, which has some good advice and technical information.

For additional information, please visit the RSPCA Australia Safe and Happy Cats website.