A plan detailing how Council will support cat owners in the municipality to transition to new confinement requirements was endorsed by Council this week.
The plan includes providing information, partnering with community groups to host workshops and pop-up stalls at next year’s pet expo.
In July Council endorsed the introduction of 24-hour cat confinement and mandatory desexing of newly registered cats, to help protect and enhance the welfare and safety of cats and create a more harmonious environment between pets, people and other animals.
The new regulations will come into effect from 1 August 2023.
Chair Administrator Lydia Wilson said the long lead time was to allow Council and cat owners enough time to transition to the new arrangements and for Council to offer its support to cat owners.
“We understand this is a big change for many cat owners and that’s why we’ve developed a comprehensive transition plan that supports cat owners, including educational information, workshops, videos and practical advice on preparing your pet and your property.
Ms Wilson said the community made it clear that they supported cat confinement and mandatory desexing of newly registered cats during extensive community consultation.
“During our conversation with more than 1800 people, 80% supported some form of cat confinement and more than 82% supported mandatory cat desexing for newly registered cats,” Ms Wilson said.
The confinement of cats means that the requirements for both dog and cats will be consistent, with pets needing to be securely confined to a property or under effective control when outside the owner’s property - this could include a harness, cat backpack or pram.
Confining cats to a property reduces the risk of common cat diseases and injuries from being hit by vehicles or getting into altercations with other animals.
Over the coming months there will be an extensive campaign by Council to ensure cat owners and the broader community understand the new requirements for keeping cats contained and mandatory desexing, and are ready for the new regulations from August 2023.
The transition plan includes:
For more information and assistance to help prepare for the change visit www.whittlesea.vic.gov.au/cats