Whitehorse City Council

Caring For Your Cat

Following extensive community consultation, Whitehorse City Council has adopted changes to the Domestic Animal Management Plan that will provide a safer environment for pets and native wildlife.

Feedback during the consultation stage showed that the community is concerned about the welfare of pets and native wildlife and strong support was shown for increased regulation on cats outside the home environment. 

> Cat confinement
> Benefits of confining your cat
> Confinement Options
> Confining your cat at night
> Further Information


Cat Confinement

From 1 October 2010, cats:

  • Must be confined indoors or in a suitable enclosure on the owners property between 8pm and 6am; and
  • Are prohibited from the following Council bushland reserves to ensure that local wildlife is protected from the threat of cats:
    • Antonio Park
    • Bellbird Dell
    • Blackburn Creeklands
    • Blackburn Lake Sanctuary
    • Campbells Croft
    • Cootamundra Walk
    • Joseph Street Reserve
    • Koonung Creek Parklands
    • R.E. Grey Reserve
    • Wandinong Sanctuary
    • Yarran Dheran. 

This means that owners will need to confine their cats so that they do not enter these bushland reserves at any time. If cats are not confined overnight or prevented from entering these reserves, owners may see the cats impounded and fines issued.  

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Benefits of Confining your Cat

There are several benefits to confining your cat to your property including: 

  • Improved cat health, safety and longevity – cats allowed to roam can be killed or injured through car accidents and fights with other animals. They may contract fatal diseases such as Feline AIDS and be more likely to require veterinary attention for fleas, ticks, worms, abscesses, cuts and other illnesses.
  • Better neighbourhood relations – roaming cats can cause disputes between neighbours by causing dogs to bark, by fighting with other cats and by defecating in gardens.
  • Enhanced wildlife protection – cats are most active at night and will often instinctually hunt and kill wildlife even if they are not hungry. Keeping your cat confined will help protect wildlife.

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Confinement Options

The cat curfew means that cats must be confined to your property between 8pm to 6am. There are several options available to suit different housing and financial circumstances including: 

  • Keep your cat in your home with you.
  • Use a cat enclosure – search under ‘Pet Shop Suppliers’ or ‘Animal and Pet Enclosures’ in the phone directory or internet for more information.
  • Enclose your yard, veranda or section of the garden between the house and fence.
  • Cat-proof your boundary fence. 

For more information, download a copy of the Victorian Government publication pdf icon  How to Build Cat Proof Fencing and Cat Enclosures (643.97kB), which includes do-it-yourself step-by-step instructions, diagrams and photos. Call Council’s Community Laws Department on 9262 6333 for a hard copy. 

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Confining Your Cat at Night

When training your cat to accept confinement, skip its morning feed and call it in at night before 8pm to be fed. Don’t feed your cat until it comes inside – it will learn quickly that it won’t get fed unless its home on time. Once inside, don’t let it out again until morning.

Ensure your cat has a comfortable and well-ventilated sleeping area with food, water and a litter tray. Your cat should adapt to night confinement within a few days. Some adult cats adapt easily, others need time and help to manage.

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Further Information

Council is able to provide further information, advice and support for residents regarding suitable confinement methods and behaviour management for cats resistant to being confined.

Please contact Council’s Community Laws Department on 9262 6333.

Please also refer to Council's documents below:

For further information regarding cat welfare, please refer to the following agency websites. 

Organisation Contact What They Do
Department of Primary Industries 136 186 Information about responsible pet ownership
Responsible Pet Ownership Program 9217 4321
Petcare Information and Advisory Service General information and advice
Who's For Cats Information on what to do about stray and feral cats
RSPCA 9224 2222 General information and advice
Cat Protection Society 9434 7155 General information and advice