Cat curfew

To help protect animals in our community from July 1 2021, from 6pm to 7am the next day or from 8:30pm to 7am the next day during daylight savings, cat owners within Moorabool Shire Council will be required to keep cats contained on their property. For most cat owners who already keep their cats contained, the curfew won’t affect them. However, there are some cat owners who will need to make adjustments.

Keeping your cat inside is firmly supported by the RSPCA as it will help:

  • Cat health, safety, and longevity – less accidents with cars, cat fights, picking up diseases or pests, or getting lost.
  • Improve neighbourhood relations – less spraying and howling, fighting with other cats, and defecating in gardens.
  • Protect wildlife – cats will instinctively hunt and kill wildlife, even if they are not hungry.

How is it managed?

The cat curfew has been introduced primarily to protect the native wildlife in the Shire. Council is committed to ensuring that all cat owners in the Shire are aware of the benefits that the cat curfew provides for their cats, local native wildlife, and local neighbourhood. Council will be promoting the new regulations and explaining the reasoning behind their implementation to cat owners and the general public. To reduce the possibility of incurring any enforcement costs, cat owners must ensure that their cat is microchipped, registered with Council, and wearing their Council-issued tag. Council also encourages neighbours to discuss the issues of the roaming cat with each other, as the cat owner may not be aware that the cat is roaming and causing problems in the neighbourhood.

Keeping your cat safe

Keeping your cat inside will help your cat’s health and longevity, improve neighbourhood relations, and protect wildlife. In keeping your cat within your property’s boundary there are many options to suit you and your cat’s needs that will keep them happy, comfortable, and healthy including:

  • Keeping your cat in the house with you
  • Keeping your cat in the garage or shed at night, or
  • Installing cat fencing or enclosures on your property.

With the many benefits of keeping your cat at your property, it is essential to ensure that the spaces you provide meet your cat’s needs. It is vital to provide an appropriate environment to maintain your cat’s physical and behavioural health. This includes making sure they have choice about where they play and rest, as well as providing opportunities to engage in normal cat behaviours such as climbing, pouncing, scratching, and exploring.

Training your cat

When training your cat to come in for the curfew, an option is that you skip their morning feed and call it in at night to be fed. Don’t feed your cat until it comes in. Your cat will learn quickly that they won’t get fed unless they are home by dusk. Once your cat is inside, don’t let it out again until the next morning.

Adult cats that are used to roaming outdoors may have more difficulty in adjusting to being confined. If this is the case, consult your local vet for advice. Desexing cats also reduces their desire to roam and helps prevents behavioural problems.