Did you know that cats born from 1 July 2022 must be contained within their owner’s property or on a leash?

Our Property Team regularly provides advice to their clients about cat containment in the ACT when purchasing their new home.

As many members of this office will attest to, cats can be incredible pets and lovable companions. However, there is no doubt that cats are also one of the most successful predators that nature has to offer and, in Australia, they can cause significant damage to local fauna.[1] In response to this the ACT Government has proposed amendments to the Domestic Animals Act 2000. The outcome of these proposed amendments will be to list all the ACT as a ‘cat containment area’ from 01 July 2022. 

Cat containment, as defined by the Act, is where a cat is confined to the premises of its owner or carer. A premises may be a building, cat cage, vehicle or a completely or partly enclosed space from which cats cannot escape. The penalty for an individual who fails to comply with the Act is $300 for each instance of failure.

Further, additional changes to the Act also make it mandatory for all cat owners to register their cat with the ACT Government, and to update those details annually. An individual can face a fine of up to $350 for failing to comply with registration requirements.

So, what does this mean for you? If you:

  • live in one of the 17 existing cat containment suburbs, you must continue to keep your cat contained at all times
  • already own a cat but reside with the cat outside these 17 suburbs, it can continue to roam freely. However, any cat born from 01 July 2022 onwards must be contained, regardless of where they live in the ACT
  • are or intend to become a cat owner, ensure that you register your cat via the online portal that will be set up by the ACT Government before 01 July 2022. 

Don’t hesitate to contact our Property Team at property@shglawyers.com.au with any questions about purchasing a residential home in the ACT.

[1] Tackling the feral cat pandemic: a plan to save Australian wildlife https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Environment_and_Energy/Feralanddomesticcats/Report