What is the Cats By-law?

    Council's Cat By-law specifies that residents must not, without Council's permission, keep more than two cats on any premises. It also contains controls to prevent cats being a nuisance in the district. Under this By-law, from 1 January 2022, cats must be confined to their resident's premises (i.e. home and/or yard) unless under effective control by a leash or similar restraint.

    Why do we need a Cats By-law?

    Council's By-law No. 6, Cats By-law (2018), is designed to control and manage cats In the Council's area. Its objectives are to promote responsible cat ownership, reduce the incidence of public and environmental nuisance caused by cats, and protect the comfort and safety of the public.

    I own a cat / I'm looking to add a cat to our family. What do I have to do?

    Under South Australian law, all cats must be microchipped by twelve weeks of age, and all cats born after 1 July 2018 must be desexed by six months of age (exemptions apply for registered breeders).

    From 1 January 2022, all cats In the Adelaide Hills Council district will need to be confined to your property unless on a leash or similar restraint.

    You should also ensure your cat is registered at Dogs and Cats Online.

    My cat likes to roam. How do I keep it confined to my property?

    RSPCA South Australia offers three main ways to keep your cat at home.

    The easiest and cheapest way is to keep them indoors at all times. You make look to install cat-proof fly screens so that your pet can benefit from outdoor sights, smells and sounds without escaping. The RSPCA notes, however, that this will work best with a new kitten, as the sudden confinement of an older cat used to roaming may cause stress.

    A second option, and one that eases your cat into confinement, is to keep your cat indoors, but with access to an outdoor enclosure or run, giving them the choice of where they want to spend their time. You can create an escape-proof enclosure on an existing balcony or verandah.

    The final option is to fit your property with escape-proof fencing, so that you cat can roam your property without being able to flee. The RSPCA recommends a fence at least two metres high, with rolling cylinders and smooth metal or plastic sheeting on top that make It Impossible for cats to get a good grip for climbing.

    Is confining my cat actually a good idea?

    There are benefits to both your cat and your community when cats are confined to their properties.

    RSCPA South Australia cat expert, Jacky Barrett, explains the benefits of keeping your cat indoors that including: avoiding fights with other cats and the risk of infectious diseases, and being safe from poisons or traps.

    The wider community also benefits from cat confinement because cats are no longer able to defecate and urinate in other people's yards, and they are less likely to upset the native wildlife in the district.

    Do cats really pose such a threat to native wildlife?

    Both feral and domestic cats impact significantly on Australia's biodiversity, particularly birds, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals. The combined Impact of cats and feral foxes has led to the extinction of almost 30 native mammals from mainland South Australia, and continues to threaten more.

    Native species In the Adelaide Hills that are impacted by feral and domestic roaming cats include:

    • Birds such as fairy wrens, wagtails, honeyeaters, robins, cuckoos and firetails.
    • Ground-dwelling mammals such as bush rats, Ring-tailed possums, Yellow-footed Antechinus, Pygmy Possums, and the Southern Brown Bandicoot.
    • Amphibians including the Common Eastern Froglet, Marsh Frog, Eastern Pobblebonk, Sleepy Lizards, Blue Tongue Lizards, and Dragon Lizards.

    What about feral cats?

    The successful confinement of domestic cats in the Adelaide Hills will give Council staff and volunteers the opportunity to identify and remove feral cats from the environment through trapping, further reducing the threats to wildlife and community comfort.

    What will happen if my cat gets out?

    All domestic cats are required to be microchipped, and we recommend you further register your cat on Dogs and Cats Online to help us reunite you with your cat if it escapes your property.

    If a cat is trapped in our district, our Rangers will scan it for a microchip in the same way we do for lost dogs. With up-to-date information on your microchip, we will return the cat to its owner as soon as possible and, if necessary, help you identify ways to prevent future escapes.

    If your cat is found to be roaming on a regular basis and causing nuisance in the community, you may be fined for failing to comply with our Cats By-law.

    Can a confined cat really be happy?

    RSPCA South Australia cat expert, Jacky Barrett, says that keeping cats entertained and enriched inside is easier than you might think. It is about having a variety of toys, scratching posts, and climbing spaces available, and regularly playing games with your pet. Your cat will also like places to hide that can be as simple as a cardboard box.

    Effective ways to exercise a cat can be as straightforward as using everyday Items such as scrunched up newspapers, balls underneath laundry baskets, and bubble blowers. Games and exercise can be kept as short as five minutes, making it easy to fit into your day.

    Click here for a list of enrichment activities that you can explore for your cat.

    What should I do to make my home safe for my cat?

    It's important to be aware of potential hazards inside your home. When introducing your cat to your house, you should make sure that rodent poisons and insecticides, medications, toxic foods like chocolate, onion and garlics, and common plants like lilies are not within reach.