Promote responsible cat ownership
- Run community education and engagement campaigns on responsible ownership.
- Raise awareness of the impact of roaming cats on wildlife and residents.
- Improve cat de-sexing rates.
This vision recognises the important role of cats as pets and that people have responsibilities for animal welfare and protecting native wildlife.
With about a quarter of Canberra households owning cats, cats are a significant part of our society. Cats provide love, companionship and important health and wellbeing benefits to their owners. In return, it is essential that we provide safe and happy homes for them.
The ACT Cat Plan 2021–31 guides the management of cats—owned, semi-owned, unowned and feral cats—over the next decade. Implementation of the plan will be guided by the ACT Cat Plan Implementation Plan.
Cats that are not responsibly owned are at risk of harm to themselves and native wildlife. They may also pose a nuisance to neighbours.
Research shows that cats have already contributed to the extinction of more than 20 Australian mammals. In Canberra alone, each year roaming cats are estimated to predate on 61,000 native birds, 2,000 native animals, 30,000 native reptiles and 6,000 native frogs.
See a summary of the Cat Plan under About the Plan.
The ACT Government held extensive consultation on the Draft ACT Cat Plan in 2019, with more than 4000 people and organisations taking part. See the consultation’s listening report and consultation report in the document library.
A follow-up survey on cat containment through the YourSay Community Panel survey in 2021 confirmed support for the containment.
The ACT Cat Plan has three overarching objectives:
Improving cat management requires a shared commitment by government and the community. Nearly everyone has a stake in how cats are managed, including cat owners, neighbours, people involved in the pet industry, veterinarians, conservationists, animal welfare and rescue organisations, community groups and rural landholders.
Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS) and Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development (EPSDD) are responsible for implementing the plan, including through partnerships with service providers such as the RSPCA ACT, other organisations and community groups.
The plan contains eight strategies to address cat management in the ACT, as outlined below.
Promote responsible cat ownership
Improve compliance and enforcement of cat laws
Reduce the number of semi-owned and unowned domestic cats
Continuously improve domestic cat welfare and management practices
Expand cat containment
Reduce impacts of feral cats
Engage rural landholders in improved cat management
Promote human health and wellbeing through responsible pet ownership
The ACT Cat Plan sets out how we can all better manage cats for the health, welfare and safety of both domestic cats and native animals.
The Plan is an action under the ACT Government’s Animal Welfare and Management Strategy 2017–22 to implement policies and management plans to promote responsible pet ownership and reduce the impact of domestic cats on the environment and the community.
There are too many unwanted cats and kittens in animal rescue centres. Cats that are not responsibly owned are at risk of harm to themselves and native wildlife. They may also pose a nuisance to neighbours.
We will continue to work with the community and stakeholders on implementation of the plan, including to improve our laws, services and programs for managing all cats—domestic and feral.
The notion of being responsible relates to people caring for the health and wellbeing of their cat, as well as taking responsibility for their cat’s impact on wildlife and the ways it may interact with other people. Responsible cat owners:
You must desex your cat unless:
You must microchip your cat. A cat of any age can be microchipped.
You may not keep four or more cats unless you have a multiple cats' licence.
You must contain your cat if you live in a cat containment area.
The ACT Government will now progress the required legislative changes to introduce cat registration from 1 July 2022. Owned cats will need to be registered on an annual basis and new cats will need to be contained within their owner’s property or on a leash.
To reduce the number of unwanted cats born each year that may become neglected and abandoned.Cats can give birth to about three litters of kittens each year and can start breeding at just 3-4 months old. Many of these kittens often flow into the feral cat population, feeding off wildlife and producing even more unwanted cats. Having your pet desexed also helps to reduce straying, aggression, fighting and antisocial behaviour, and has added health benefits for your animal.
Microchipping is an effective way for animal shelters and vets to identify lost cats to return to their owners.
Microchipping is a safe procedure where a silicon chip, approximately the size of a grain of rice, is implanted under the skin of the animal.
Cat containment means taking measures to prevent your cat from roaming and keeping your cat on your premises 24 hours a day.
Legislation changes are being progresses to include walking a cat on harness and lead as containment.
Cat containment is compulsory in some ACT suburbs. There are also many people who choose to voluntarily contain their cat.
Find out more about current cat containment laws in the ACT.
Two key reasons to contain your cat are:
Mandatory cat containment will be introduced across Canberra from 1 July 2022.The introduction of cat containment will be grandfathered, which means that cat containment will only be mandatory for newly-owned cats.
It is expected that cats that are registered by 1 July 2022 or a date to be determined will not be subject to containment laws. This is a response to community concerns around the potential negative impact of containing cats that have previously been allowed to roam.
There will be plenty of information available to the community in the lead up to this to help people prepare for the introduction of mandatory containment.
The ACT Government pursuant to Section 81 of the Domestic Animals Act 2000, has declared the following areas to be cat containment areas:
A map showing cat containment areas is also available.
Cats can happily live indoors especially when they have been trained to be an indoor cat from a young age. Suggestions to increase activity and stimulation of contained cats include toys, scratching posts, vertical and horizontal climbing spaces, walks outside on a harness and lead and access to an outdoor escape-proof cat enclosure or cat run.
The RSPCA has more information on how to ensure your home is a feline-friendly, stimulating environment.
Advice, tips, and tools to help you transition your cat to a safer and happier life at home is available through the Safe Cat, Safe Wildlife website.
Cat registration is an official database of microchipped and registered cats.
The registry would be managed by the ACT Government as part of the Government’s commitment to strengthen animal welfare standards and promote responsible pet ownership.
A cat registration system would support compliance and enforcement and improve systems for reuniting lost pets with their owners.
All cats are the same species (Felis catus). However, for management purposes, we define cat populations using different categories. RSPCA Australia defines cats as either domestic or feral and separates domestic cats into three subcategories based on their relationship with humans: These include:
The flow of cat populations between these categories is interconnected. To effectively manage the welfare of cats and their impacts on the environment, the entire population must be managed in an integrated way.
The best way to reduce numbers of these cats is through increasing desexing of pet cats to reduce unwanted kittens and reducing cat abandonment.
The ACT Government will work to minimise the number of semi and unowned cats through a program of trapping, desexing and adoption of these cats. We will work with cat rescue organisations to carry out this work.
We will continue to look at strategies to remove feral cats as part of the Government’s integrated pest animal management in the ACT’s national parks and reserves. This may include listing feral cats as a key threatening process under the Nature Conservation Act, which would lead to an action plan for their control.
Reducing the number of stray cats in residential areas will also lead to a reduction in increase to feral cats.
A range of compliance and enforcement mechanisms is necessary to underpin effective laws.
Community education will be an important part of compliance, including raising awareness of how to meet the legal requirements, the benefits of the requirements and the potential consequences for non-compliance.
While the Government will initially take an educative approach, there are a range of penalties which can be used for repeat offenders. These include fines, cancellation of licences to breed female cats and, in serious cases, criminal prosecution.
Domestic cats have some dependence (direct or indirect) on people. Feral cats have no relationship with or dependence on humans, and reproduce in the wild.
A cat that is cared for by a specific identifiable person. Owned cats are directly dependent on people and usually sociable.
Semi-owned cats are fed and cared for by people who do not consider they own the cat. Semi-owned cats may be associated with one or more households and sociability/friendliness to humans varies.
Unowned cats are indirectly dependent on people with some having casual and temporary interactions with different people. They are of varying sociability, including some who are unsocialised to humans, and some may live in groups (e.g. around rubbish tips, drains, food outlets).
A stray cat is a general term for roaming cat that may or may not have an owner.
The following are several research papers undertaken on impact, management and ecology associated with cats in Australia.
Click on the links below to read the full paper.
We acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as traditional custodians of the ACT and recognise any other people or families with connection to the lands of the ACT and region. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.
The online ‘YourSay’ service is provided using a digital platform operated by the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate (CMTEDD).
The ACT Government respects the rights and privacy of all individuals and is committed to complying with the Information Privacy Act 2014 and the Territory Privacy Principles and protecting the personal information we hold.
CMTEDD (via Social Pinpoint which is contracted service provider of CMTEDD) collects your personal information as part of providing the Territory’s online community engagement services, informing you about these services, complying with contractual and other legal obligations, responding to your enquiries and administering its community engagement technology.
CMTEDD may use your personal information for these purposes, any other purpose listed on a collection statement at the point of collection, or in any other way made clear at the time of collecting the personal information. In cases where feedback is received about an engagement opportunity that is subject to another Territory agency's Terms and Conditions, or arrangements for handling personal information, your feedback may be provided to the agency concerned.
In your feedback to the ACT Government, you should not provide personal information, including personal health information (for example, any information (medical or otherwise) about a person’s health, mental status, treatments received etc) about any other person (a third person).
We collect the comments, votes, posts and selections you contribute when interacting with the feedback mechanisms provided through 'YourSay', which include:
This information is analysed and interpreted by CMTEDD staff, staff of other ACT Government agencies and in some circumstances, third party contractors who have been engaged to assist in the analysis of the data collected, to inform the creation of better projects, plans and policies.
Can you remain anonymous or withhold personal information?
Yes. You can access and participate in select ‘YourSay’ engagements anonymously, without disclosing any personal information. Some identified studies may require you to register and establish an account in order to participate. Users may choose to adopt a pseudonym for these studies.
When you register for a ‘YourSay’ account or sign-in to your existing account, the information we collect includes:
For engagements where you do not register for a ‘YourSay’ account, we may seek to collect from you:
Demographic details are requested in order to help us determine the degree to which views of participants are representative of a diverse cross-section of the community.
By providing an email address you help us protect the integrity of the discussion from individuals and groups who may attempt to unduly influence the outcomes of the consultation process anonymously. For example, we check the database to ensure each user has a single email account on the site. We also frequently review the site for trolls and spammers.
If you are registered and signed-in to your user account, the contributions and feedback you provide may be linked with your username and any demographic details you have recorded in your account.
If you subscribe to receive notifications about upcoming consultations and other engagement activities , the email address you provide will be used by CMTEDD to send you information and updates about new opportunities to have your say. You can unsubscribe from these updates notifications at any time.
If you subscribe to receive updates about a specific engagement project, for example by using the ‘Follow’ function, the email address you provide will be used to send you information and updates about that engagement. You can unsubscribe from these notifications at any time.
Cookies are used on our site, but they do not collect any personal information. For the most part they are sessional and just contain system-generated values to identify the user's session for statistical and system administration purposes only.
Site visit data
The site’s web-server automatically collects the following de-identified data for statistical and system administration purposes only:
To the extent that this data could make you identifiable, CMTEDD and Social Pinpoint will not attempt to identify individuals from the records the server automatically generates unless necessary to investigate a breach of law or regulation.
When you sign up for and use the ‘YourSay’ service you provide two types of information:
Publicly available information
Publicly available information is limited to your username and any comments you leave under that username in the forums or other feedback tools published to ‘YourSay’.
You can use your first name or an anonymous username if you do not want your full name attached to forum and guestbook comments, stories or questions.
Feedback (including overall results of polls and surveys, and in some instances, quotes from forums and surveys) may be published in publicly available reports at the end of the consultation period.
Please note that the ACT Government is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2016. The Freedom of Information Act 2016 provides a general right of access to government information. This includes documents created by the government, documents held by contracted service providers relating to the performance of government contracts and documents supplied to government by external organisations or individuals.
Information available to CMTEDD and Social Pinpoint (and which CMTEDD may disclose to other entities as set out in this privacy notice) includes:
Information available to third party contractors may include but is not limited to:
CMTEDD will take all reasonable measures to prevent unauthorised access to, or disclosure of, your personal information.
Organisations to which personal information is disclosed include other ACT Government directorates, the ACT Government’s contracted Service Providers, such as Social Pinpoint and their subcontractors or agents who may be based in Australia or overseas (namely in the Philippines), who perform various services for and on behalf of the ACT Government. These contractors have agreed to be bound by the provisions of the Information Privacy Act 2014.
We will also take all necessary measures to ensure that your personal information is not disclosed to other individuals, institutions and authorities except in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2014, such as if required or authorised by law or explicitly permitted by you. Some examples of when information may be provided to another person without your consent include in the event of an investigation into suspected unlawful or improper activity or when a law enforcement agency or government agency may exercise its legal authority to inspect the web server's records (e.g. in relation to hacking or abusive messages).
You may seek corrections to your personal information that CMTEDD has collected if you believe it is inaccurate, out-of–date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading. CMTEDD is required to take reasonable steps to correct personal information to ensure that, having regard to the purpose for which it is held, the information is not inaccurate, out-of–date, incomplete, irrelevant or misleading.
You may also seek access to your personal information that CMTEDD holds.
The ‘YourSay’ Privacy Statement does not apply to third party websites or digital services which may be linked to from content published to 'YourSay'. We recommend you read the privacy statement of the relevant service when you access these sites.
Third Party Providers
We sometimes use third party providers for some web-based services, with information stored in the United States and Europe. These include Campaign Monitor and Mail Chimp for email subscriptions, Survey Monkey and Typeform for online surveys, Social Pinpoint for interactive maps, Viostream for live streaming question and answers, MindHive for running a collaborative forum and EventBrite for registration at events. Please follow the hyperlinks for details on their privacy policies.
Campaign Monitor Privacy
CMTEDD uses Campaign Monitor to provide electronic newsletters to subscribers.
CMTEDD holds the Campaign Monitor account and personal information collected through that account can be accessed by other agencies of the ACT Government for the purposes of sending electronic newsletters.
Campaign Monitor will use the information collected from you for the purpose of providing the online service which enables CMTEDD and other agencies of the ACT Government to create, send and manage electronic newsletters. Campaign Monitor will also use this information to measure the performance of CMTEDD and other ACT Government email campaigns.
Campaign Monitor may transfer this information to its contractors or other third parties who process the information on Campaign Monitor’s behalf, or where otherwise required to do so by law.
Campaign Monitor is based in the United States of America (USA) and is subject to the laws of the USA. Your information (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Campaign Monitor on servers located outside Australia.
You can unsubscribe from the 'YourSay' electronic newsletter at any time by selecting the 'unsubscribe’ option in every email sent to you by Campaign Monitor.
More information about how CMTEDD manages the personal information it collects can be found at http://www.cmd.act.gov.au/legal/privacy.
If you have any questions relating to the use of your personal data please contact email@example.com.
Whole of Government Engagement Customer Relationship Management System
If you provide your personal information during an engagement, it may be included in a Whole of Government Customer Relationship Management System (CRM), together with the feedback or views you provide, and handled in accordance with Schedule 1 of the Information Privacy Act 2014, and the Territory Privacy Principles (TPPs).
The CRM system has been designed to provide directorates’ employees or authorised contractors with a place to store information about engagements with stakeholders and access information about engagements with stakeholders undertaken by other employees or authorised contractors. Information in the CRM may be used to inform subsequent engagements with the same or similar stakeholders. The use of the database is intended to strengthen coordination between ACT Public Sector agencies and reduce duplication of effort and stakeholder fatigue, by sharing information about engagement activities across government.
More detailed information about how your personal information is handled is available in the CRM Privacy Notice available at https://www.act.gov.au/crm-privacy. Further information about directorates’ privacy policies and where to locate them can be found in the CRM Privacy Notice.
If you have any comment in relation to any aspect of the collection, use, security of, or access to your personal information please contact us via:
Privacy Contact Officer
Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate
GPO Box 158
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Or you can contact the Privacy Contact Officer by phone: +61 2 6207 5883 or +61 2 6207 8175
Information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable:
but does not include personal health information about the individual.
Personal health information
Personal health information means any personal information, whether or not recorded in a health record:
(a) relating to the health, an illness or a disability of the consumer; or
(b) collected by a health service provider in relation to the health, an illness or a disability of the consumer.
What are the conditions with a user’s account?
If you want to terminate your own account, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are not responsible for the content on the site that has been provided by the users of the site. Any content posted by you is subject to the rules of our Moderation Policy. Your contribution to the site may be edited, removed or not published if we consider it inappropriate (refer to Moderation Policy). Contributors should also be aware that their posts may remain online indefinitely. Where practical, you may choose not to identify yourself, deal with us on an anonymous basis or use a pseudonym.
What’s required of users?
You must understand and agree that, without limitation:
These Terms shall be governed in accordance with the laws of the Australian Capital Territory.
What content does the ACT Government own?
Your Say website contains the copyrighted material, trademarks, patents, trade secrets and other proprietary information (“Intellectual Property”) of Social Pinpoint and its suppliers and licensors. ACT Government owns and retains all proprietary rights in the intellectual property. All intellectual property in the content of this site including without limitation to text, software, source code, pages, documents and online graphics, photographs, sounds, audio, video and other interactive features are owned by or licensed to us.
Any original content that you submit or post on our site may be made available to the public and allows users to share your content (with the end user acknowledging your contribution) under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 Australian License.
Except for Intellectual Property which is in the public domain or for which you have been given written permission, you may not copy, alter, transmit, sell, or distribute any of the Intellectual Property.
We are not responsible for your communications or dealings, including payment and delivery of goods or services, with a third party found via our website. Any loss or damage incurred from those communications or dealings are solely between the user and the third party.
Disclaimer and Warranties
Users must agree that your use of the site is at your own risk. We make no warranty that the site will meet your requirements or be uninterrupted or error-free. Any material that the user downloads through the site is done at their own risk and users are responsible for any damages to their computer system or loss of data.
What happens if these Terms change?
We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to modify or replace these Terms at any time without notice. The most recent version of the Terms can be seen on this page. By continuing to access or use our site after those revisions become effective, you agree and will comply to the revised terms. If you do not agree to the revised terms, please discontinue using our site.
If you have any questions about these Terms, please contact us at email@example.com
Enter your email address below. We will send you instructions to reset your password.
Join our online community
Creating an account helps us better understand your needs and the needs of the community.
Sign up with email
Already have an account? now.
Thank you, your account has been created.
Completing the questions below helps us better understand the diverse range of people who contribute their ideas. The questions are optional.
You’re using an outdated browser.
Some features of this website may not work correctly. To get a better experience we strongly recommend you download a new browser for free: