Cat Ownership


Group of cats in a line

Responsible Cat Ownership

Cats are for many people valued pets and companions. Cats have both positive and negative impacts in the community. Responsible cat ownership can minimise the negative impacts of cats, whilst allowing cat owners to continue to enjoy their pets

Is cat ownership for me?

The decision to own a cat should be undertaken with full understanding of what is involved in caring responsibly for a cat.

Factors to consider include:

Is your lifestyle and finances compatible with a long term commitment? Cats frequently live into their late teens.

Is cat ownership appropriate in your community or neighbourhood? People living adjacent to bushland must recognise the extra responsibilities involved in ensuring that their cat doesn’t interfere with wildlife in these areas. Similarly, people living near busy roads should consider the need to confine their cat to save them from the possible risks associated with motor vehicles.

Control and confinement

Confinement of cats to the owner’s property, particularly from dusk till dawn, is strongly encouraged, for the cat’s safety, for the safety of wildlife and to prevent cats being a nuisance in the community.

To reduce the risk of cats preying on wildlife:

  • Keep your cat indoors
  • Keep your cat in an outdoor run
  • Put a bell on your cat's collar
  • Make sure bird baths are out of reach of cats


In NSW, it is compulsory for all cats to be microchipped and registered.

In addition to compulsory microchipping it is advisable that all cats wear a traditional collar and tag for easy identification without the use of a scanner.

Very few cats taken to animal shelters and pounds are ever returned to their owners. More cats are destroyed through lack of identification than through any other cause.


Cats can be de-sexed at almost any age, although six months or younger is ideal.

De-sexing your cat will result in:

  • A reduction of the number of unwanted domestic cats and kittens that are destroyed in animal shelters and pounds each year
  • A reduction in homeless domestic cats suffering from hunger, exposure and disease
  • A happier, healthier cat that is less likely to wander and fight.
  • Unwanted cats

When a person is unable to keep or care for their cat any longer, they should make arrangements to pass their cat on to a responsible new owner. Where a suitable home can not be found for a kitten or cat, it should be taken to an organization such as the RSPCA or the Council Pound who will try to re-home the cat or euthanize it. Unwanted cats and kittens must not be dumped or otherwise abandoned under any circumstances.


Breeding should only occur where the owner specifically plans to breed cats. These cats may need special care. Owners should ensure proper management of the sexual activity of all of their cats.

Eight ways to care for your pet

Pets can be great friends, companions and protectors. But cats depend on you to be a responsible owner. To be a Responsible Cat owner there are eight simple things you can do to provide for your cat:

  • Clean drinking water
  • Healthy food
  • De-sexing
  • Plenty of exercise and socialisation
  • Vaccination, worming and vet care
  • Proper grooming
  • Microchipping
  • Registration with your local council