Australian council could ban cats outside unless on a lead under new rules

26 November 2021, 13:50 | Updated: 26 November 2021, 14:00

A council in Australia is considering banning cats from roaming
A council in Australia is considering banning cats from roaming. Picture: Alamy
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

An Australian council is considering stopping cats from roaming outside without their owners.

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A council in Australia is considering banning cats from being outdoors unless they are in cages on a lead.

The rule would mean they would no longer be able to roam freely on local government-controlled verges, roads, parks and gardens that could be considered refuges for wildlife.

Cats and kittens would instead have to be walked on a lead or carried in a container by their owners.

A council is considering banning cats from roaming outside
A council is considering banning cats from roaming outside. Picture: Alamy

Fremantle city ward councillor Adin Lang put forward the motion, which received unanimous support at a recent policy committee meeting.

It would bring an amendment to the current Fremantle's Cat Management Local Law.

“We want to enforce containment but the state government does not give us any mechanism to do that, so we have to create artificial containment,” Mr Lang said.

“This is about protecting our wildlife and it’s also about helping to keep people’s cats safe from cat fights or getting hit by cars.

“What this will mean is if rangers see cats on the footpaths or see cats on the roads a fine could be issued to the owner, much like a fine is issued to a dog owner whose dog is off-lead.”

Cats could be confined to leads in an area of Australia
Cats could be confined to leads in an area of Australia. Picture: Alamy

A proposed amendment is set to be drafted and presented to the council to decide whether to take it to the next stage and advertise for public feedback.

That feedback will then be considered by the council before it is approved or dismissed.

Last year, the Fremantle council brought in new cat laws which restricted the fluffy creatures from 12 prohibition areas within the local government’s boundaries.

The owners of any registered cats found in the banned areas can be fined $200.

WA Feral Cat Working Group chairman Tom Hatton recently made a case explaining why he believes it’s good for cat owners to keep their pets at home.

He told the council: “There are two good reasons to keep your cat at home.

“The pressure that domestic cats that are allowed to roam put on urban wildlife and, secondly, the science that says that domestic cats that are not allowed to roam live much longer and are much healthier.

“Urban cats kill 30 times more wildlife than adult cats out in the bush.

“A domestic cat that is kept at home lives on average 13 years, a domestic cat that is allowed to roam lives on average only three years because of misadventure, cars, fights and disease.”

An RSPCA spokeswoman also claims containment of cats could see benefits for cats and wildlife.

She said: “In order to provide good welfare for the cat, the cat’s owner must ensure that the containment environment meets the cat’s physical and mental needs.”