Responsible Cat Ownership


Caring for your Cat

Just like dogs, cat breeds have their own unique temperaments so when thinking about getting a cat, it is important to investigate the breed and whether or not it will fit into your lifestyle. Consider the following before purchasing a cat:

  • How much grooming it will need
  • If the breed you want is shy and quiet, or active and robust
  • If it will be an indoor cat or how you will control the cat outdoors.

Being a responsible cat owner

Cats have a reputation for being independent, but they still need care and discipline for their own health and safety. As a responsible cat owner you should:

  • Keep control of your cat to minimise its impact on neighbours and wildlife
  • Identify your cat with a collar and tag, have it Microchipped and Lifetime Registered
  • Have your cat de-sexed

Keeping Cats Indoors

Owners can provide a safe and suitable environment for their cat at home all day, every day.

Benefits of keeping your cat indoors include:

  • Reduce the risk of your cat getting sick, being hurt or dying in an accident
  • Minimise the risk they will harm or kill other animals
  • Reduce the risk they will stray and be lost or impounded
  • Preventing them from interacting with cats which have not been desexed
  • Enjoy more time with your cat indoors
  • Give your cat a longer, healthier and happier life

If your cat is currently an outdoor cat, you can introduce it to being contained gradually. There are many easy ways to give your cat an enriched and active lifestyle whilst being contained safely indoors. Read the RSPCA Australia Guide to Keeping Your Cat Safe and Happy at Home(PDF, 1MB) to learn more.

Keeping Outdoor Cats Inside at Night

Even if you allow you cat to roam during the day, there are many good reasons to keep your cat inside at night:

  • All cats hunt, regardless of how well fed they are. Cats usually hunt at night
  • Most catfights occur at night
  • Most vehicle accidents involving cats occur at night
  • Cats can also cause considerable damage to the environment if allowed to wander.

Keeping your cat or kitten indoors or enclosure at night will prevent around 90% of all cat-related complaints.

Confining cats at night is quite easy

Cats should never be fed until it is time for them to be confined. Once you invite them in to be fed, keep them in for the night.

If your cat is well behaved you can let them roam freely inside, or confine the cat to a room with a bed and access to a litter tray. For those who cannot keep cats inside the home, then the garden shed or garage is a suitable alternative for confinement.

Nuisance cat complaints

If you have a complaint regarding your neighbour's cat, the following steps are recommended:

  • Approach the cat's owner and state your case clearly and politely. Chances are they are unaware of their cat's behaviour.
  • If the cat's owner is unapproachable or does not agree that a problem exists, you can contact Council.
  • The Ranger will assist in trying to resolve the issue.

How does Council deal with a nuisance cat complaint?

Council takes the following steps after receiving a complaint about a nuisance cat:

  • The owner is advised of the complaint and offered advice on how to curb the cat's behaviour.
  • If further complaints are received, a Nuisance Order may be placed on the cat which stays in place for six months.
  • Should the cat continue the nuisance behaviour, Rangers may issue penalty notices to the value of $275.
  • Further non-compliance may see the owner of the cat prosecuted by the local court (a request for the removal of the cat from the property may be sought).
  • Council's Rangers do not collect straying cats, but they will receive them at the Armidale Animal Shelter.

Roaming Cats 

If a neighbour’s cat comes onto your property, Council has no powers to intervene. Under the NSW Companion Animals Act 1998 No 87 (see Part 4 Responsibilities for control of cats), there is nothing stating that a cat must remain on the property of its owner. The Act does state that cats are prohibited from:

  • Food preparation / consumption areas 
  • Wildlife protection areas

Responsible cat ownership means providing proper housing and food for your cat and making sure you follow responsible breeding practises. Allegations of cats causing a nuisance are common complaints received by Council. Council recognises these complaints can create friction in neighbourhoods and can be very frustrating to those involved, however, Council will no longer be dealing with this type of request.

Council encourages negotiation between neighbours in an attempt to resolve the problem. Such negotiations can be conducted between each party or by our Ranger negotiating on both party’s behalf to resolve the issue.

What to do if you lose your cat

Ring Council on (02) 6778 6300 and tell us your cat is missing. You are legally required to do this within 72 hours of the cat going missing.

  • Check the pound on a daily basis - don't just ring - go in and look
  • Ask around the neighbourhood and check with your neighbours
  • Check the local newspapers lost and found notices or put one in yourself.
  • Check the local vet clinics for injured stray cats
  • Put free lost cat announcements on the local radio station.

What To Do if You Find a Cat

  • Check for identification/registration tag - if the cat is wearing a name tag, phone the owner
  • Check the papers for lost cat announcements
  • Ask around the neighbourhood to see if anyone has lost their cat
  • Take it to the pound/animal shelter

If you can't find the owner within a reasonable amount of time you are required by law take the cat to the nearest animal shelter. Failure to do so can incur a $550 fine.

More information can be found by following the link below to the Companion Animals Act 1998.