Cat Ownership (Fact Sheet 22)

Animal Registration

Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, all dogs and cats over the age of 3 months must be registered with Council.  To register your cat, please contact Council for an application form. Infringements may be issued if you are found to have an unregistered cat.

Microchipping and Desexing

All cats living in the Greater Shepparton City Council must be desexed and microchipped prior to being registered with Council. Desexing helps to reduce the number of unwanted or feral cats and kittens. Microchipping helps Community Rangers to locate the cats’ owner if it becomes lost. Please contact your Veterinarian to have your cat microchipped and desexed.

Cat Curfew

Cats are highly valued pets in Australia, however roaming cats can cause serious issues and become injured if allowed to roam. Wandering cats:

  • get hit by a car or become injured in fights;
  • catch fatal diseases (eg feline AIDS);
  • kill native wildlife (even well fed cats will hunt);
  • annoy neighbours by spraying, fighting, yowling and digging in gardens; or
  • become lost.  

In December 1996, Greater Shepparton City Council, made an order under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, which makes it illegal for a cat roam 24 during the day and at night. This means that legally you are not allowed to let your cat leave your own property.

It is an offence for a cat to be outside the owner’s premises at any time of the day or night. Council can seize your cat, issue a notice to stop your cat trespassing or issue infringement notices if you cat waders off your property.  

How to confine your cat

  • You can simply keep your cat in the house or flat with you.
  • Buy a ‘cat enclosure’ for your garden, or use clear netting to enclose your courtyard, alleyway or verandah.
  • Build your own A-frame enclosure with chicken wire, or adapt an aviary.
  • Make fences difficult to jump. You can try attaching floppy chicken wire to the top of your fences to make them harder to climb or build an inward-facing ledge along the top of them.

Provide your cat what it needs

To prevent your confined cat from becoming bored or developing behavioural problems, provide it with environmental enrichment including:

  • Companionship (from yourself or another pet);
  • Exercise through play (You can even train cats to walk outside on a harness and leash)
  • Climbing and scratching posts, toys and hiding places (eg scratching posts, scrunched paper or balls, cardboard boxes);
  • Access to window ledges for sunshine, or place a chair near a window; and
  • Plants and grass to chew (non toxic varieties such as ‘cat nip’, ‘cat mint’, oats, wheat or rye-grass)

What happens if your cat becomes lost?

Ensure you cat is wearing its registration tag on its collar at all times. If your cat becomes lost, contact Council to report your missing pet. Council Community Rangers can identify a lost cat’s owner through its microchip and Registration Tag. 

Nuisance Cats and Cat Trap Hire

If you find a lost or trespassing cat or kitten, you can bring the animal to the Shepparton Animal Shelter during opening hours. If you cannot catch the cat or kitten, you can hire a humane ‘cat trap’ from the Shepparton Animal Shelter to assist in catching the animal. Strict conditions need to be adhered to when hiring a ‘cat trap’ from the Council including:

  • Food, water and shelter must be provided especially in hot, cold or wet weather;  
  • The cat must not remain in the trap for more than 24 hours (traps should not be set on weekends as the Animal Shelter is not open to receive the animal); and
  • Cages are provided in a clean working state and must be returned in the same condition to obtain the full deposit refund.

Shepparton Animal Shelter

The Shepparton Animal Shelter is located at 125 Wanganui Road Shepparton and is open 8:15am-4:30pm, Monday to Friday. Lost or roaming cats are cared for at the animal shelter for eight days, to allow time for their owner to be found. If an owner cannot be located, the animal may enter the animal shelters adoption program. Animals made available for adoption are advertised on Councils website.  To claim a lost cat, the animal must be microchipped, registered, desexed and have any shelter fees and veterinary costs paid by an owner prior to collection.

If you have received a Notice-Notice to Comply in relation to your cat, please ensure that you follow the compliance details and complete the required work by the specified date.  If you are unable to complete the requirements within the time specified please call the Issuing Officer as soon as possible before the date to discuss an extension.  Failure to comply may result in infringement notices being issued.

If you wish to obtain further information or advice in relation to responsible cat ownership, the animal shelter or cat cage hire, please contact Citizens Services on (03) the 5832 9700.