Tuesday 16 November 2021

Greater Bendigo, Australia order cats to be "contained to the property 24/7"

NEWS AND COMMENT: The city administrators i.e. councillors of the City of Greater Bendigo, Australia have voted that domestic cats "must be contained to the property 24/7". One councillor, Julie Sloan, said that it is important to make a distinction between "restrict cats to indoors 24/7" and "contain to the property 24/7". That's a fine distinction which I had to think about for a while to work out the difference. The difference must be this: they have ordered that domestic cats should be kept within the bounds of the property which means inside the home and/or the front and back yards. 

Greater Bendigo, Australia order cats to be "contained to the property 24/7"
Greater Bendigo, Australia order cats to be "contained to the property 24/7". Image: MikeB

The cats don't have to be confined to the indoors i.e. inside the home. They can wander into the back garden front garden but clearly if they do those areas must be fenced in a way which prevents domestic cats escaping to the outside. That is my interpretation.

It's a progression for this city from an earlier curfew which required cats to be kept inside the owner's property between sunset and sunrise. So the screws are gradually being turned tighter on cat owners in terms of restrictions. This is one of the few total curfews that I know about in the world of domestic cat ownership. It's about as restrictive as you can get. Although, there have been lots of discussions about confining cats to the boundaries of the owner's property 24/7 in many jurisdictions on the planet, primarily in America and Australia.

These countries lead the world in terms of legislation to control cat ownership. What is the purpose of the curfew? The usual reasons: to prevent predation on wildlife and, in their words, "less fighting and transfer of diseases and breeding between cats and would reduce nuisance issues between neighbours".

The councillors surveyed the residents of the area. The feedback was 80% in favour of confining domestic cats to their homes. Under the legislation, cat owners have to pay up to AU$120 to reclaim their cat if it is held between five and eight days by the local authority.

The residents will be given time to get themselves organised to comply with the new restrictions. It'll take a bit of work. The cat confinement fence manufacturers will do a roaring trade 😅.

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