Cat Act 2011
The main purpose of the Cat Act 2011 is to encourage responsible pet ownership by ensuring cats are registered, sterilised and microchipped. There are limited provisions within the Cat Act 2011 to address cats that may be considered a nuisance because they roam, attack wildlife or create a disturbance in or around a property.
Under the provision of the Cat Act 2011, the City may seize cats if they are reported to be on private property without the consent of the owner/occupiers, however the trapping of cats will only be considered where other deterrent methods have failed. The City will assist you to reduce the impact of nuisance cat behaviour, however you are asked to attempt to initially resolve the situation by following some of the advice in this fact sheet.
Common nuisance behaviours
Following are examples of behaviours which could be termed nuisance behaviour:
• A cat continually comes into your garden and sprays on your outdoor furniture.
• A cat keeps defecating in your flower beds.
• Cats are coming into your garden and frightening your cat.
• There is a cat outside that appears to be in pain and yowling constantly.
• A cat or cats are killing wildlife in your garden, particularly birds.
• There is a feral cat in your garden or home looking for food.
• Cats are entering your cat flap and eating your cat’s food.
Common cat behaviour
Cats by nature are predators and are well equipped to catch their prey. Cats will roam their home ranges hunting during the day or night, unless they are restricted to indoors.
Yowling is part of a cat’s vocal communication system and is more likely to be due to one of the following two circumstances:
• It is a queen (female cat) in season ‘calling’ for a mate (Tomcat) or the Tomcat calling in response to the female cat.
• There are two cats that are in conflict with each other. Part of a cat’s defence mechanism is to ‘yell’ at each other rather than diving straight into a fight.
Suggested deterrent methods
The following information is provided to enable residents to deter unwanted attendance by cats on their property. However, please be mindful that any actions taken that deliberately injures or harms a cat is not acceptable and such action is deemed to be an offence under the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2002.
Unwanted cats in your yard
If you know where the cat owner resides, the most effective deterrent method is to speak to the owner of the cat and advise them of the issue and request that they deter their cat from attending your property. If this is not successful, or you don’t know where the cat comes from, the following methods may assist you:
• Try spraying the cat with water. If the cat associates its visits with an unpleasant experience it is unlikely to return. It is important that you do not harm the cat in any way.
• Use a loud sudden noise to startle the cat.
• Use motion-activated sprinklers or ultrasonic devices. Motion sensors use infra-red to detect when an animal enters a defined territory. As soon as the cat enters the infra-red field, the sprinkler shoots out a burst of water. Ultrasonic devices emit a high frequency alarm that annoys the cat.
• Cats have a highly developed sense of smell; scent repellents can be a useful tool. Naturally based products such as the Coleus Canina plant, a weed originating from Europe, is known as the Scaredy-Cat plant because it emits an odour offensive to cats.
Cats, as with other animals, may defecate around homes. The following suggestions may provide some relief:
• Clean the area thoroughly with a biological washing powder solution (i.e. washing powder that contains enzymes such Protease or Lipase). This needs to be a 10% solution mixed with warm water. Wash the area thoroughly, allow it to dry and then spray over the area very lightly with a surgical spirit spray. (It is advisable to conduct a test patch on the furniture prior to spraying to ensure that it does not discolour it).
• If you find that the cat returns to the same spot, place a small piece of cardboard with some dried cat food glued to it at that location. Cats will not toilet where there is food.
• For protecting gardens or flower beds, common household items may be effective, including the herb Rue, either planted or sprinkled in its dry form. Orange and lemon peel may also be effective along with cayenne pepper, coffee grounds, pipe tobacco, lavender oil, lemon grass oil, citronella oil, peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, and mustard oil.
• Covering the soil with a heavy mulch often deters cats as they don’t like the texture of mulch on the pads of their feet.
• Cat Scat is a product which consists of plastic mats that are pressed into the soil. Each mat has flexible plastic spikes and is cut into four pieces. The spikes are harmless to cats and other animals, but discourage digging.
Cats coming indoors
The following suggestions may assist to deter cats from entering a property:
• Purchase a cat flap that has an electronic release. It will come with a device that can be placed on your cat’s collar therefore the cat flap will only open for your cat.
• Additionally, if your cat is microchipped you may purchase a microchip activated cat flap that operates from your cats existing microchip number.
If you like cats, one of the best ways to keep another cat out of your garden is by owning your own cat. Your cat will define the territory as its own and deter ‘foreign’ cats from entering.
For further information please contact the Town’s Ranger Services on 9347 6000. Alternatively, you may wish to visit one of the Town’s Administration Centre for assistance.