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Weighing the options for a potential cat curfew

Cats are social animals, they like to hunt, and with their well-developed night vision, they can do it anytime. And that's where problems can arise.

Research shows that cats are more at risk of injury or catching diseases when they are outside. There's also more chance they will attack wildlife or go missing.

While the majority of cat owners in our municipality already keep their pets close, Council officers sometimes need to get involved when cats create issues for other pets, neighbours, wildlife and/or themselves.

That's why, in line with an action in the Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-2025, Council wants to understand the community's appetite for the introduction of a cat curfew.

We want your feedback on three options:

  • Option 1: No curfew (no change)
  • Option 2: An overnight curfew which would require owners to keep cats within their property boundary
  • Option 3: Curfew 24 hours/7 days a week, which would require owners to keep cats within their property boundary at all times.

Your feedback will help inform the next steps, including the development of a proposal for Council to consider.

Learn more below and share your feedback before midnight Sunday 30 June 2024.

Key facts

How to provide feedback

Learn more using the tabs below then share your thoughts.
  • Complete the online questionnaire

    We want to know whether you support a cat curfew in our City and what that could look like.

    The questionnaire should take no more than five minutes to complete. Click here to begin.

  • Email us

    Send your feedback directly to AnimalManagement@maribyrnong.vic.gov.au

What could a cat curfew look like?

A cat curfew, sometimes called cat containment, is a specified time when cats are not allowed outside of their owner's property boundary.

One-fifth of the 79 councils in Victoria are currently considering cat curfews. Over one-third have already introduced an overnight curfew and 10 have introduced a 24/7 cat curfew.

The RSPCA supports cat curfews as part of responsible management of cats.

Explore the tabs below to learn about what each option might look like and the benefits and disadvantages of each.

Benefits of cat curfews

While cats are popular pets in our City, those allowed to roam can:

  • kill native wildlife (even a well-fed cat will hunt)
  • breed with feral cats further increasing the population in the wild
  • get injured in fights, or hit by cars and other vehicles
  • annoy neighbours by spraying, fighting, yowling, defecating, and digging in gardens
  • become lost or impounded.
Keeping cats inside an owners property boundary benefits cats, other pets, community, and natural environment by:

Overnight curfew

An overnight curfew would mean cats must not be outside a property boundary during certain hours, for example dusk-to-dawn or 10pm to 6pm.

  • Benefits

    An overnight curfew:

    • can minimise issues for neighbours
    • provides more protection for wildlife
    • means cats are able to roam freely during the day
    • reduces the chance of cats getting hurt, unwell or going missing.
  • Disadvantages

    An overnight curfew:

    • will not address issues for neighbours during the daytime like defecating and urinating on lawns and gardens
    • does not reduce risk to wildlife during the day
    • does not reduce the risk of disease, injury or cats getting lost.

24/7 curfew

Another potential option for a cat curfew is confinement at all times, 24 hours/7 days a week. This option can help reduce the number of cats roaming outside their premises.

The Lost Dogs Home advocates for a 24/7 curfew to help reduce cat fatalities on roads and to limit the interactions that pet cats have with diseased cats.

Outcomes in other councils

Many councils in Victoria are considering, or have moved to, a 24/7 curfew and have found that it helps to simplify enforcement. Of the 79 Victorian councils, 10 have introduced a 24/7 cat curfew and have observed a reduction in the stray cat population.

Some councils have found that, over time, trapped cats are mostly owned rather than feral or wild cats, leading to a reduction in the stray cat population. A 24/7 curfew lessens the likelihood of cats being trapped outside of the specified curfew times.

  • Benefits

    A 24/7 curfew:

    • reduces the likelihood of neighbour issues and nuisance complaints
    • reduces the risk of cat attacks on wildlife
    • lessens the risk of injury, illness, disease and associated veterinary costs.
  • Disadvantages

    A 24/7 curfew:

    • may require some owners to purchase a form of cat enclosure
    • means that trapping and associated costs would fall to owners who allow their pets to roam
    • means cats are not able to roam.