The only place on the planet were domestic cats have to stay in the home?

You may have noticed, there is one place (?) on this planet where domestic cats will have to stay in the home under the law which commences in October 1, 2021. That place is Knox in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. I know of no other place in the world where the local administrators have decided to bite the bullet and do something very big which is a 24/7 curfew on domestic cats under the law which forces cat owners to keep their cats either in their home or the backyard (but see below).

Knox council wants their citizens to build these. This catio in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Evelyn Lau - The National.

There is a website for Knox which succinctly tells us, away from the glare of social media, about the cat curfew. It states that cat owners will be required to keep their cats on their premises at all times from 1 October 2021. The curfew will be in place to protect local wildlife and cats and prevent a nuisance to neighbours. The curfew means that cats must be confined to the house, shed, garage, yard, or enclosure or something similar. Can your cat still go outside? Cats can go outside but it has to be on the property so it is not going outside in the conventional sense, meaning into public places.

The city administrators expect cat owners to build enclosures and cat proof fencing around their properties. It is something I've been promoting for a long time actually, which is cat enclosures. The catio is a small version of a cat enclosure. It's a great compromise between allowing your cat the opportunity to express natural behaviours while protecting the cat and wildlife. I believe that it is a compromise which will gradually be expanded into many metropolitan areas in various countries.

SOME PAGES ON CATIO CAT ENCLOSURES

It just took a very courageous decision by these administrators to do it now. Of course, there's been a big backlash by resident cat owners within the jurisdiction. Social media describes it as "outrage". However, the council run a survey of 720 residents, 50% of which are cat owners. A large 86% supported some kind of curfew with apparently the majority referring a 24-hour curfew. This indicates that there is consent. I have interviewed an Australian lady and she is for destroying feral cats - the same objective.

Set against this apparent consent, there is an online petition requesting that the council reviews their decision. Detractors say that the science does not support a curfew and that the cats will be stressed by being confined.

I've just discovered that the Yarra Ranges Council introduced a 24/7 cat curfew earlier. So. the Knox Council curfew is the second in Australia and I would argue that makes them the second in the world because no other country has done this. It's been discussed in America but no action has been taken. Americans love their freedoms under the constitution. They are very vocal about it understandably.

Australia's citizens are perhaps more compliant. Also, Australia's administrators are more concerned about wildlife predation by domestic and feral cats than in America. The balance has shifted between allowing cats the freedom to roam, which they've enjoyed for centuries, towards protection of wildlife. That is the main reason why this curfew is in place. They say that it also protects the cats but 90% of this is to do with stopping domestic cat preying on wildlife.

There is enormous pressure on wildlife in Australia mainly because of human behaviour which destroys habitat and causes climate change. People can't change their behaviour so they change the behaviour of cats instead. It's much easier and it looks like politicians are doing something positive. A much greater positive impact on the protection of wildlife would take place if people changed their ways.

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