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, see our Animal Registration page. Infringements may be issued if you are found to have an unregistered cat.

Microchipping and Desexing

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

Wandering Cats

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

  • get hit by a car or become injured in fights;
  • catch fatal diseases such as 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, Council made an order under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, which makes it illegal for a cat to roam. 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 with 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 (like scrunched paper or balls), and hiding places (like 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

See our Nuisance Cats page for information.

If you wish to obtain further information or advice in relation to responsible cat ownership, please contact Council.