Information for Cat Owners

Responsible ownership of a cat goes beyond just ensuring that you care for and feed the cat. Cat owners have a responsibility to ensure their pet cats don’t kill native wildlife or become a nuisance to others.

But my cat doesn't roam, kill wildlife and isn't a nuisance to my neighbours.

You might be surprised! See the secret lives of other pet cats that 'didn't roam,' captured in the Cat Tracker Project from the USA (click on a picture of a cat to see where that cat travelled).

Here are four things you can do to better look after your pet cat while also helping to protect Tasmania’s native wildlife and be a good neighbour!

Desex your cat

A desexed cat typically lives longer and is less territorial. It will wander, fight, and spray-mark its territory less, and in general makes a better pet. Desexing also prevents unwanted litters of kittens that contribute to the feral cat population and to the ongoing demise of native wildlife.

Desexed cats also make better pets. Under the Cat Management Act 2009, all cats sold or given away must be desexed. Cats kept by registered breeders or covered by a certificate issued by a veterinary surgeon stating that desexing should not occur on health or welfare grounds are exempt from this requirement.

The Cat Management Act 2009 aims to ensure cats do not impact on the environment or join the feral cat population. It is an offence to abandon a cat and land owners and managers may act to control cats found on their land.

Any person may sell a cat but there are requirements for desexing and microchipping of cats before sale. All cat breeders in Tasmania must be registered - either as an individual or as a member of an approved cat organisation. Ask for proof of registration if buying from a breeder and help promote responsible cat ownership and breeding. See Breeding and Selling Cats in Tasmania.

The National Desexing Network (NDN) is a nationwide referral system to help those in financial need with the cost of desexing their pets. Find out more at

Identify your cat as a pet

Pet cats that are microchipped can be identified from feral and stray cats by local councils and animal shelters. This means they can be quickly and safely returned to you if they get injured or lost.

Microchips, implanted under a cat's skin, are about the size of a grain of rice and use a unique identification number to identify you as your cat's owner. This makes it faster and easier for you to be reunited with your cat if your cat is missing.

Under the Cat Management Act 2009, all cats sold or given away must be microchipped unless a veterinary surgeon issues an exemption certificate based on health or welfare concerns.

Putting a collar on your cat will also help people identify that your cat is a pet cat and not a feral cat.

Never dump your unwanted kittens or cat (it is against the law)

Dumped cats are likely to become feral and prey on wildlife as a food source. Unwanted cats and kittens should be taken to the RSPCA or Hobart Cat Centre.

Dumping or abandoning cats or kittens is an offence under the Cat Management Act 2009 and severe penalties apply.

Contact your local vet, RSPCA or Hobart Cat Centre for assistance with unwanted cats.

Keep your cat from roaming

Pet cats should stay at home. Cats that are prevented from roaming are protected from being hit by cars and from being injured or catching diseases from interactions with other cats. In fact, pet cats that are prevented from roaming have been found, on average, to live up to four times longer than those that are allowed to roam.

Pet cats may roam many kilometres from their homes

Cats kept indoors or in a specially designed cat enclosure won't prey on wildlife. You will get to enjoy their company more too! Cat enclosures can provide cats with access to your house and to an enclosed outdoor area. It is easy to enrich their environment to ensure they get enough exercise and don't get bored.

Local councils may introduce by-laws requiring registration of cats within their area as well as declare 'prohibited areas' and 'cat management areas' where certain control activities may occur. Many public areas, such as reserves under the Nature Conservation Act 2002 (eg National Parks) and Forestry Act 1920 (eg State Forests), are automatically designated as 'prohibited areas' for cats. Cats found in these areas may be trapped, seized or humanely destroyed.

Don't feed stray cats or kittens

About one in five households feed a stray cat that does not belong to them. Many stray cats are not desexed and feeding them supports breeding, resulting in greater impacts on native wildlife, disease spread, public nuisance and more cats for the feral population. Do not feed a cat that is not yours.

Stray cats should be taken to the RSPCA or the Hobart Cat Centre.

Further information:

For information about responsible cat ownership, contact the Invasive Species Branch on 03 6777 2200.

Cat Ownership in Tasmania - Fact Sheet (281 KB)

  Cats and Wildlife: How You Can Protect Both   (3Mb)



Invasive Species Enquiries
Invasive Species Branch
165 Westbury Road
Phone: 03 6777 2200
Fax: 03 6336 5453