Owning a cat

Cats make great pets and owning one can be very rewarding. Contrary to popular belief, cats don’t need to roam as long as their basic needs are met.

Being a responsible cat owner means protecting your cat, other people’s pets, and the environment, and, in accordance with the Domestic Animals Acts 1994, ensuring your cat is registered and microchipped once it is over three months of age.

Cat curfew and prohibited areas

From 1 July 2020, Council's Dog and Cat Control Order 2019:

  • requires owners to keep cats contained to their property between sunset and sunrise
  • prohibit cats from these sensitive environmental areas: Mount Gisborne Reserve, Malmsbury Common, Gisborne Marshlands, Woodend Grassland and Hanging Rock Reserve.

Find out more:

Why do I need to confine my cat?

When cats are outdoors they can attack wildlife, get hit by cars, be injured or injure other cats, and spread disease. They can also spray, howl, and annoy neighbours and their pets, especially during mating season. 

Aside from being a legal requirement, there are many benefits to containing your cat:

  • It will be healthier and live longer. It is less likely to be involved in an accident or be exposed to potentially fatal diseases.
  • It is less likely to get lost (saving a trip to the pound).
  • It won’t annoy neighbours.
  • Less hunting and predation of wildlife, which helps the Macedon Ranges environment flourish. 

Long term benefits

Council recognises that making cat safe changes to your home will likely involve some degree of physical and financial effort. In comparison, the cost of vet care due to road traffic accidents, cat fights and more can be huge. The money and time you spend making changes to your home and your cat’s routine now, will be certain to reward you over your cat’s lifetime.

Helpful links

How to train your cat to stay inside

Cats can be confined to your property in one or more of the following ways: 

  • Indoors
  • Cat run or specially designed enclosure
  • Enclosing part of a property, e.g. a verandah
  • Cat proof fencing
  • In a shed (well ventilated/ insulated)

It may seem challenging to transform a free-roaming cat into a safe and happy cat that stays inside, but it is possible.

Not sure where to start? We have worked closely with Dr Emma Hughes BSc; BVSc; MSc; MANZCVS (Veterinary Behaviour) of Better Behaviour Veterinary Services, on the topic of “Training your cat to stay inside”. Together we compiled some useful information and resources including our "Training your cat to stay inside" brochure which will be available soon. Loaded with information and hints around confining your cat/s, you can also pick up a hard copy at your local vet, pet supply store, or by calling (03) 5422 0333.

Useful links

Feeding references

Cat trees and platforms

  • PetHelpful: An informative website on how to “Make Your Own Cat Trees, Towers, and Other Structures”

Boredom busters and DIY for cats

Cat curfew background and consultation

The Paws for Thought consultation into the review of dog on-and-off leash areas and the potential introduction of a cat curfew in the shire was held in late 2018.

For more information about the consultation process, recommendations and Council decisions, see Paws for Thought consultation