Cats trespassing on private property can cause nuisance by defecating in gardens, fighting, making noise or attacking wildlife.
Domestic Animal Management Plan
Cat confinement was identified as one of the key recommendations of our Domestic Animal Management Plan, developed in consultation with residents.
The Domestic Animals Act accepts that cats wander but also requires you to respect your neighbours' wishes so if your cat is not welcome on their property, you must take measures to keep it away.
Training your cat to stay indoors
Contrary to popular belief, cats do not need to roam. Provided their basic needs are met, cats can enjoy longer and healthier lives when confined at night or even for twenty-four hours a day.
You can train your cat to accept confinement by:
skipping its morning feed and calling it in at night to be fed - don't feed your cat until it comes inside - it will learn to be home by dusk
keeping your cat inside until morning
ensuring your cat has a cosy and well-ventilated sleeping area, with food, water and a liter tray - it will adapt to the night time confinement within a few days
When confining cats for a long period of time, it is necessary to enrich their environment. This will prevent them from becoming bored and developing behavioral problems. You can do this by providing:
companionship (from yourself or another pet) and exercise through play
toys for your cat and also hiding places (for example: cardboard boxes)
access to window ledges for sunshine, or place a chair near a window
Cat proof fencing and cat enclosures
You can confine your cat to your property by adding fence extensions or providing them with a cat enclosure.
Fence extensions are erected entirely on your side of the fence and are a simple and effective way to prevent your cat from jumping over your fence.
Cat enclosures can be attached to an existing structure, such as a patio or fence, or free standing. There are a number of excellent cat enclosure products available commercially. Guidelines are available to build your own enclosure. It is estimated that the cost of materials for building the DIY enclosures is approximately half the cost of purchasing similar (but already assembled) commercially available products.
Cats prefer to exercise by stretching, jumping and climbing rather than running long distances, so elevation is more important than floor space. Try to cater for this requirement with accessories like pet houses, catwalks, climbing poles, scratching posts, steps, ramps and hammocks.
For more information on cat proof fences or cat enclosures visit the cat confinement page on the Department of Agriculture website.