Cat Owner Responsibilities

Image of ginger and white cat in a catio with lush green forest outside.


Keep your cat healthy, happy and safe by following these essential tips. Following these tips will also help to protect our native wildlife too.

  1. Do not allow your cat to roam.
  2. Ensure your cat wears a collar and bell.
  3. Have your cat de-sexed and avoid unwanted kittens.
  4. Have new cats registered and microchipped 
  5. Keep your cat indoors at night.
  6. Ask your neighbours if your cat causes any nuisance problems and correct them.
  7. Do not allow your cat to enter local bushland or attack native wildlife.
  8. Keep your cat healthy and happy.
  9. Give your cat lots of attention - avoid nuisance problems caused by boredom.
  10. Make sure you really want a cat and are prepared to care for it before acquiring one.

Keeping Cats Safe at Home

We are one of 11 Councils taking part in the RSPCA NSW Keeping Cats Safe at Home project.

The Keeping Cats Safe at Home project aims to promote responsible cat ownership.

It will do this by educating and encouraging cat owners to keep their cats safely contained at home to enhance their welfare and reduce the impacts that cats have on wildlife. 

Read more about Keeping Cats Safe at Home

Cat-safe initiatives

Research shows that indoor cats:

  • give owners more affection and peace of mind.
  • have a longer life span
  • better health
  • are more placid.

Catios, cat bib's and walking your cat on a lead can all keep your cat, happy, healthy and safe.


A Catio is an enclosed outdoor space for your cat.

Catios can be big or small, simple, or fancy. The main thing is that they provide interest and stimulation for your cat to enjoy the outdoors, while keeping it safe and protecting native wildlife.

Catios can be purpose built or just an enclosed part of an existing deck. They can be small or large, depending on what space you have available. They can be permanent or temporary, so renters can put one in too!

Tips for building a Catio

  • Make it easy for your cat to get in and out. For example build it next to an open window or cat flap. 
  • Use simple building materials. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Recycled timber, star pickets and old bricks can be used to create a frame.
  • Use wildlife friendly mesh. This can be purchased from good hardware stores and will keep your cat and other animals safe.
  • Make it fun for your cat! Include structures for your cat to climb on and scratch, cat toys, places to hide and things to jump on to.
  • Include some grass or pot plants. The NSW Cat Protection Society have a fact sheet on cat friendly flowers Cat Friendly Flowers
  • Change the furniture and toys in your catio regularly to keep it interesting for your cat.
  • Include resting places and a toileting area for example a litter tray.
  • Include food and water if your cat will be in the catio for a longer time.
  • Get online. There are several companies who make and build cat enclosures if you can’t’ build one yourself.
  • For more information on catios, visit the RSPCA website’s knowledge base section. 

Do you have a catio, or any tips on how to build one? We’d love to share a picture to help inspire others.

Contact the Biodiversity Team on 02 6626 7324  at

Example of a Catio

Image of large catio enclosure with timber frames and mesh walls, attached to a house with cat entry via window, and background of tropical landscape.


Walk your cat on a lead

Indoor cats can have a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience walking on a lead, like local cat Mimi, who explores her rainforest backyard on a lead with ‘mum’, Solé.

Training your cat to walk on a lead can take some time and patience, but it’s worth the effort when cats enjoy it so much. Hear directly from Solé in our YouTube interview.

Tips for training your cat to be on lead

  • Purchase a cat harness from your local pet store.
  • Cat harness training is easier if you start at an early age, but just because you have an adult cat, don’t think you can’t train your cat to walk on a lead!
  • To make sure it’s a positive experience, start each harness training session just before mealtime – so dinner is the reward.
  • Go slow – the first few days might just involve showing your cat the harness and allowing them to sniff it.
  • You want your cat to learn that the harness implies good experiences ahead like their dinner, and later, exploring outside.
  • Encourage others! Let us know if you use a cat lead, and any tips you have for training your cat. Contact the Biodiversity Team on 02 6626 7324 or at

Further information

Get a free cat bib

We are trialing a program to reduce domestic cat hunting of our native animals.

We are offering a free CatBib to all cat owners who have a microchipped and registered cat(s) in our Shire.

The cat bibs, which are made of wetsuit material, attach to a collar, and hang over the cat’s chest, acting as a barrier and interfering with the timing and coordination cats need to hunt.

Call Council on 02 6626 7000 to take part in the CatBib trial.

Even if you are using a cat bib, please keep your cat indoors between dusk and dawn, when most native animals are active.

Risks to roaming cats

Your cat is vulnerable to many dangers when it roams outdoors, especially at night. We encourage cat owners to keep their pet inside at night to protect native wildlife and their cat.


Cats more likely to be hit by a car at night. Young cats are 300% more likely to be hit by a car than older cats. Even if you live on a quiet street, your cat can roam several kilometres and get lost or reach a busy road.

Lawful seizing

Roaming cats can disturb your neighbours and become a nuisance. Any person may lawfully seize a cat if necessary to protect a person or other animal (other than vermin) from injury or death, as well as for protection of the cat.

Other animals

  • Cat fights mostly occur at night and can cause major injuries as well as spreading Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), which occurs in 15- 30% of cats. Cats with FIV ultimately develop Feline Aids, which can be fatal.
  • Over 300 cats are attacked by dogs every year in NSW.
  • Snakebites are a risk to roaming cats, with snakes like the Eastern Brown snake being common in rural and suburban areas. Cats often mask symptoms of a snake bite until it becomes life-threatening. Snakes can be easily startled by cats - snakes don’t have ears and won’t hear a cat with a bell approaching. For further information, you can read Bird Guard’s Snakebites on Cats article.
  • In this warm humid climate, cats are at risk from ticks. Paralysis ticks affect the nervous system and can kill a cat.
  • Roaming cats are also at risk from catching fleas, ringworm and other parasites and infectious diseases.


Pesticides, home gardening products and intentional poisonings are also a risk to cats who roam. 

Report nuisance cats

A cat which repeatedly causes a problem, such as excessive and continuous noise or destruction to property may be declared a nuisance. Continuing offences can then result in the issue of on-the-spot fines by Council.

You can report a nuisance animal by using our online Report It form or calling Council on 02 6626 7000.  

If a report has been made against your cat, our rangers will work with you in a helpful and constructive way to find a solution to the issue. 

The responsibilities of cat owners are established under the Companion Animals Act 1998.