Skip to main content

Cat management

To help protect and enhance the welfare and safety of cats in our municipality and create a more harmonious environment between pets, people and other animals, cat confinement and mandatory cat desexing for newly registered cats will be introduced in the City of Whittlesea.

From 1 August 2023, all cats in the City of Whittlesea must be confined to their owners’ property or under effective control when outside the property. All cats being registered for the first time must also be desexed. Council endorsed the introduction of these two key actions identified in our Domestic Animal Management Plan 2021-2025.

Council understands this is a big change for cats and their owners and provide support and information to help with the transition, including educational information, videos and practical advice on preparing your pet and your property.

Read about the Cat Management community consultation and Taking action to keep cats and wildlife safe media release.

Mandatory Cat Desexing

Mandatory desexing of all newly registered cats from 1 August 2023. There are currently 7,832 registered cats in the City of Whittlesea; 95% of them are desexed.  All enquiries and applications about mandatory desexing of newly registered cats and council subsidised desexing should be via email to For further information on Animal Registration.

Help is available to desex your cat

The Cat Protection Society of Victoria (CPSV) in Greensborough offers a fully subsidised desexing through the Last Litter Program which is funded with the support of donors.

The Lort Smith Animal Hospital offers subsidised desexing through the ‘Little paws of the North’.  The City of Whittlesea residents with a concession card can book their pets into Lort Smith Animal Hospital in Campbellfield to have their pets desexed, microchipped and vaccinated by expert vets at heavily discounted prices - $50.  

*Exemptions may apply for registered breeders


Cat Confinement and support

Why confine my cat?

Keeping cats confined reduces the risk of cats:

  • Sustaining traumatic injuries from cars and other animals
  • Contracting common cat diseases such as cat flu, ringworm and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
  • Being accidentally poisoned by toxic plants, pesticides or being bitten by snakes or spiders
  • Getting lost
  • Being exposed to extreme weather

Build your own cat confinement 

Removable cat enclosure suitable for renters

Watch how to build your own removable outdoor cat enclosure that can be taken with you if you move house.

Spinning pipe cat enclosure

Watch how to easily put-up piping that will stop your cat from jumping the fence and other cats from coming into your backyard. Download our easy-to-follow instructions for you to read or print off so you can build your own spinning pipe cat enclosure.

Rolling fence paddle

Watch this video to see professional cat-proof fencing solutions built by a handyman in a small courtyard, using purpose-made cat spinning paddles.

Cat enclosure example of a portal hutch.  Cat enclosure example of a netting to a patio extension.  Cat enclosure example of a side gate.Cat enclosure example of netting to house roof gutter to side fence.  Cat enclosure example of backyard netting.  Cat enclosure example of a frame.

Cat enclosure example of a backdoor extension.  Cat enclosure example of a netted gate.  Cat enclosure example of a happy cat.  Cat enclosure of a fence extension.



Further help can be found:

Cat enclosures, netting and cat-proof fencing are some ways to stop a cat from wandering outside your property. But remember, cats can still go outside, as long as it remains on your property, just like dogs.  Cats can leave your property in a cat carrier on a leash or in a cat pram - as long as you have effective control in a securely fitted harness.


Local success stories

Click on Marija and Piper's story to read about how other locals have kept their Cats safe and confined.

Marija said, “I fully support the upcoming new regulations as I am all for keeping cats safe and confined!”

Ever since I have owned a cat, I began looking for new ways of keeping her confined to my courtyard in Epping, where she is safe while not impacting on her wellbeing.

My cat Piper was adopted from a rescue and had ended up in a shelter in the first place because of her escaping.

Cat proofing the back yard came after Piper managed to jump the back fence and escape, so after a very stressful day of searching and fretting, I decided to get started on fence-proofing my courtyard.

My back yard is not very large, and I felt the best way to cat proof the fences was by putting cat netting around. It was an easy DIY job, I had help from family and it did not take much time at all. It was fairly inexpensive for my situation too, and I sourced the materials from Catnets and Bunnings.

When I was researching cat proofing options, the best resource I found was the Agriculture Victoria – enclosures and fencing website, which has an entire section on cat confinement, including information, plans and DIY info on making various types of cat enclosures as well as information on where you can purchase materials. I also found some very useful information on the Catnets website as well as the Bunnings Cat Hacks Australia group on Facebook. These are great resources as you can find options for everyone: owners, renters, DIYers – everybody and I would highly recommend it.

“People often think that cat proofing your yard or making a cat enclosure is a difficult and expensive exercise, but not necessarily – you are only limited to your financial options and your imagination!”

Piper is very happy to have the back-yard garden to explore and enjoy some fresh air. I enjoy gardening and have lots of bird and insect attracting plants, so there is still lots going on in there. As Piper is a nomad, she still gets to go for a wonder outside – safely on a lead and harness.

We regularly go out on walks with the dog too, so she enjoys this very much. Piper was a life saver during the lockdowns, regularly having me out on a walk and some fresh air.

Walking a cat is a great conversation starter! Piper and Woofy (my dog) are well known in my area and people are always delighted to see them out on a walk together. If there are any people out there wondering if they should explore harness walking their cats – if your cat wants to go outside, absolutely, go for it.

“For me, keeping the cat safely on my property is a no-brainer – compared to the vet costs to treat an accident or injury, a cat enclosure is well worth it, and the peace of mind of knowing my cat is safe while still having outdoor access is priceless.”


Transitioning your cat to an at-home lifestyle

The RSPCA offer lots of support to help you transition your cat to indoor living -  Transitioning your cat to an at-home lifestyle.   

Cats can happily transition to an at-home lifestyle too! In recent times, many people have transitioned to working from home. Cats can happily transition to an at-home lifestyle too! Cat containment (also known as ‘keeping your cat safe at home’ or an ‘at-home lifestyle’) means keeping your cat on your property at all times. You can transition a cat of any age, at any stage, to an at-home lifestyle.

Go slowly. Give you and your cat time to establish a new routine. Step-by-step your cat will learn that an at-home lifestyle can be fun. Kittens adapt well if kept at home from an early age. An adult cat who currently roams can also be gradually introduced to an at-home lifestyle by initially keeping them inside at night and increasing the time they are kept at home during the day.

Support to confine your cat

There are several options available to keep your cat secure and safe in your yard, from building your own to commercial options available from hardware stores and pet suppliers. It is important to look at ways to engage and enrich your animal to ensure it adapts to its new living arrangements.

The RSPCA and Zoos Victoria have developed a range of tools to help cat owners give their cats happy and enriched lives at home.

Expert advice to help your cat thrive at home

Watch the Cat Management Online Community Information Session from 28 April 2022

Little Paws of the North - Council and Lort Smith discounted desexing

To make a booking, contact Lort Smith Animal Hospital – Campbellfield

Location: 25-35 Berwick Road, Campbellfield. VIC 3046

Phone: 03 9328 3021​

The City of Whittlesea in partnership with Lort Smith Animal Hospital launches ‘Little paws of the North’, an initiative that supports the community in responsible pet ownership.  City of Whittlesea residents with a concession card can book their pets into Lort Smith Animal Hospital in Campbellfield to have their pets desexed, microchipped and vaccinated by expert vets at heavily discounted prices - $50.  The procedure is straight forward and owners can drop off and collect their animals on the same day.

The package includes: a routine health check; routine desexing with post-operative pain relief; F3 vaccinations protecting cats from flu and parvovirus; and microchip implantation and database registration which will help reunite missing pets with their owners quickly and easily.

To be eligible:

  • the resident or nominated owner of the pet must be 16 years of age or older;
  • a confirmed resident of the partnered municipality (City of Whittlesea or Hume City Council) ;
  • a valid government-issued concessional card; and
  • evidence of experiencing financial hardship (preferable but not essential).

All cats must be three months or over AND have a minimum weight of 1kg.

Bookings are accepted 3 weeks before each event and limited bookings are available.

Months for 2023 are:

  • July
  • September
  • November

Keeping Cats Safe at Home webinar

An insightful webinar on Keeping Cats Safe at Home.
Dr Ma talks about her experience on the project Keeping Cats Safe at Home designing and implementing evidence-based best practice targeted cat desexing programs that aim to address populations of stray cats. She also talks about how Keeping Cats Safe at Home is using social science research and human psychology to influence the behaviour of cat owners and stray cat carers to increase cat containment and reduce overpopulation.

Dr Gemma Ma is an RSPCA veterinarian with over 10 years’ experience working in shelter medicine and general veterinary clinical practice. During this time she has worked extensively on RSPCA NSW access-to-vet-care programs across NSW. Dr Ma graduated with a PhD from the University of Sydney School of Veterinary Science in 2020. Her thesis investigated the role of companion animals in human and environmental health. Dr Ma is currently Project Manager on Keeping Cats Safe at Home a 4-year human behaviour change project assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust. The project aims to reduce wildlife impacts of domestic cats by encouraging cat owners to prevent their cats from roaming and is working in partnership with 11 NSW councils.

(104) Keeping Cats Safe at Home program - webinar - YouTube

Feedback from Cat Protection Society of Victoria 

The Cat Protection Society of Victoria has praised the recent decision by Whittlesea Council to introduce a 24-hour cat curfew and mandatory cat desexing for newly registered cats, in a bid to not only protect the safety of cats, but also the environment and wildlife.

“We applaud any decision that will benefit the wellbeing of cats in general. Many local councils throughout the country have already mandated cat curfews, and we’ve been an advocate of cat management for a number of years,” said The Cat Protection Society of Victoria’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ian Crook.

“A cat that is allowed to roam free has an average life expectancy of only three years, compared to a cat that is confined which has fifteen years plus, so the benefits to a cat are enormous.  Addressing issues such as cat curfews and mandatory desexing also helps to control overpopulation and cat colonies, which often result in extensive loss of wildlife, illness for the cats, and positive welfare outcomes for pet cats.”

CEO Ian Crook


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is cat confinement?
    Cat confinement means cats are not allowed outside of your property and are always secured to your property.
  2. Can I take my cat for a walk on a lead if there is cat confinement?
    Yes, as long as you have effective control in a securely fitted harness, or the cat is in a carrier.
  3. Why has the Council introduced 24-hour cat confinement?
    Council has introduced a 24-hour cat confinement to help protect your cats’ welfare The decision was guided by feedback provided at our Domestic Animal Management Plan consultation, community consultation, reports about nuisance cats, reports of environmental impacts of cats in parks and reserves, and reports of attacks on wildlife.
  4. How will it be enforced?
    If residents have issues with cats trespassing, the resident can request a cat trap from the Council. If a cat is caught, then enforcement action can be taken against the cat owner. Education for cat owners will be Council’s priority and fines will only be issued as a last resort. 
  5. Will cat owners be fined if their cat is caught off their property?
    Cat owners may be fined as part of any cat confinement regulations if their cat is caught off their property. Officers will educate cat owners for a period of time as part of the introduction of cat confinement regulations.
  6. What happens if my cat is caught outside their property?
    If officers contain any cats found off their owners’ property, then the cats will either be returned to the owners or taken to the wat djerring Animal Facility in Epping. Once reclaimed, owners may face enforcement action as above and will be required to pay reclaim fees when collecting their cat from wat djerring Animal Facility in Epping. 
  7. What happens if my cat is trapped?
    Our Animal Management Officers will make all reasonable attempts to reunite the cat with its owner by checking registration and microchip details. If we are unable to identify the owner, we take the cat to the wat djerring Animal Facility in Epping. If we are unable reunite a cat with its owners and it is taken to the Animal Facility, there will be fees associated with its release. These will vary depending on whether the cat is registered, microchipped or desexed, and the length of time the cat has spent in the facility. 
  8. Will I be warned before my cat is impounded?
    If we cannot identify your cat or get in touch with you, the cat will be taken to the wat djerring Animal Facility in Epping. 
  9. What do I do if a cat is wandering onto my property and causing a nuisance?
    If you know the owner of the cat, we encourage you to speak with them first. If the issue cannot be resolved and you wish to make a formal complaint, please contact Animal Management Team on 9217 2170 or email  
  10. Can I use my own cat trap?
    Before trapping, we encourage you to talk to the cat’s owner to discuss the issue. If this is not possible or does not resolve the issue, you may trap a cat that wanders onto your property. The sale, setting, and use of humane cat traps is regulated under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and failure to properly use or monitor a trap may result in penalties. All other traps, including those with hook actioning mechanisms, must not be used and are prohibited. Once the cat is trapped, you may return it to the owner, contact the City of Whittlesea Animal Management Unit to collect it, or take the cat to the wat djerring Animal Facility in Epping. You should always have food and clean drinking water placed in the cat trap and should check the trap regularly throughout the day to see whether a cat has been trapped and needs to be collected.
  11. Will the introduction of cat confinement manage ‘semi-owned’ or stray cats?
    Cat confinement will not deal with the “semi-owned” cat population, but it may assist with these cats if they are deemed a nuisance by property owners and are able to be contained via cat traps. Our Animal Management Unit is working on other initiatives to address “semi-owned” cat issues, including educating people who feed but do not own cats and offering subsidised desexing to encourage people to take full ownership.
  12. How can I train my cat to stay indoors?
    Resources are available to assist in the transition to helping your cat to an indoor (or in an outdoor enclosure) lifestyle. Some simple methods include feeding your cat indoors and instead of letting your cat back outside as soon as they're finished eating, keep them inside for increasing periods of time. If you're starting your cat's retraining during the winter, a warm, dry bed to snuggle in may be just the ticket to convince them to stay inside. More ideas can be found at .
  13. Is my cat allowed outdoors on my property?
    Yes, your cat is allowed outdoors, providing it remains on your property. Visit for DIY videos on making your backyard cat-proof, there are also cat enclosure ideas to assist you.
  14. How can I keep my cat active?
    Enrichment activities such as cat towers, keeping plenty of cat toys for them to play with, and taking your cat outside on a harness and leash. Visit for some more ideas.
  15. How can you tell the difference between a pet, stray or feral cat?
    It’s important that pet cats are microchipped and registered so we can distinguish them from unowned cats and reunite them with their owner if they become lost. It is often hard to tell the difference between a pet, a stray, or a feral cat, as some pet cats will display different behaviours depending on their characteristics. Quite often stray and feral cats will disappear around people unless they have built up trust with that person.
  16. Will I have to use a cat trap on my property to catch a nuisance cat?
    Yes, as catching an uncontained cat is incredibly difficult. If a cat is able to be contained without the use of a trap, then officers will collect it, otherwise, a trap will be provided, and officers will collect any cats caught in council traps.
  17. How will cats on Council property be caught? Who needs to catch them?
    Generally, cats will only be collected from private residences. In some circumstances Council officers will assist with the collection of cats on council property (parks), however, this will be done under supervision. 
  18. Where will I have to take the captured cat?
    Council officers will collect any contained cats from private properties; however, cats can also be taken to the wat djerring Animal Facility in Epping (ensuring the cat is transported in a safe way). 
  19. Who do I contact if I suspect my cat has been trapped?
    Contact your local council or check online to see if your cat has been taken to the wat djerring Animal Facility in Epping.
  20. Do cats get injured if they are captured in a cat trap?
    It’s important that cats are trapped only in approved traps issued by Council or approved, humane traps. All instructions provided by Council or when purchasing your own trap must be followed to ensure the safety of the cat. 
  21. Will keeping my cat inside impact its mental health?
    If a cat is kept active and given enrichment toys, then keeping your cat indoors will have little effect on its mental health. Some products are available if your cat has increased stress due to being indoors. Indoor cats are less susceptible to disease and injury. A cat that is allowed to roam free has an average life expectancy of only three years, compared to a cat that is confined which has fifteen years plus, so the benefits to a cat being confined are enormous.  
  22. What happens to cats that are captured?
    If the cat is registered with Council, we will reunite the cat with its owner. If a cat is unowned/stray/feral it will be transferred to the wat djerring Animal Facility in Epping where it will undergo a behavioural assessment to determine suitability for adoption. 
  23. Is it legal for my neighbour or Council to trap my cat?
    Yes, it is legal for someone to trap a trespassing cat.
  24. Will the Council support costs associated with building a cat enclosure?
    At this stage, the council will provide resources for owners to find the easiest and most cost-effective way to contain cats on their property, Council will not be subsidising enclosures.
  25. Will confinement make any difference to overall levels of predation or to the threat of wildlife?
    Several reports indicate that cats are natural predators of native wildlife, whether they are owned or stray/feral. Containing your cat to your property (especially at a young age) will lower its natural predation and will assist in the protection of local wildlife.
  26. Do other Councils have cat confinement?
    The new regulations will bring the City of Whittlesea in line with 37 of 79 Victorian councils that have some form of cat confinement in place; a further 17 councils are currently considering introducing cat confinement laws.
  27. If my cat is made to be indoors 24 hours a day, will I still need to register them? Why?
    Yes, all cats over the age of three months are required to be registered under state law. If your cat escapes your property then these fees will assist in returning your cat to you and assists in running the wat djerring Animal Facility in Epping, which cares for all cats that are brought into the facility, whether they are owned or not. Registering your pets helps Council reunite you with your pet as Council will be able to quickly trace them back to you. 
  28. If cat confinement is introduced will the cost of cat registration be reduced?
    At this stage no changes are being looked at in relation to registration fees, however, we are looking at advocating to the state government for standard fees across all councils.
  29. What is the fine for a cat not being confined to my property?
    Education and support will continue after the introduction of the new cat regulations. When fines are issued, they will start from $92 - other fees or fines may apply.
  30. What happens if my cat is impounded and not desexed?
    If your cat is not registered and not desexed and is impounded in the wat djerring Animal Facility, it will need to be desexed at the owner’s cost at the Facility prior to being released. This is due to a new regulation being introduced in the City of Whittlesea requiring all cats being registered for the first time to be desexed unless you are a registered breeder.
  31. What do I do if I see cats roaming outside of anybody's property?
    If you see cats roaming in your area, contact the Council via email or via phone 9217 2170. For Council to speak to owners we require information - such as the address of where the cat lives. If you are unable to identify where the cat lives and the cat is causing you problems and you want it removed, you will need to fill in an application form for a Cat Trap from Council (there are wait times for the traps at the moment).
  32. How is Council enforcing the 24-hour cat confinement regulations?
    Council officers are acting on complaints from the community about roaming cats. In the first instance, Council’s aim is to educate owners and provide assistance on how to safely contain cats on their property. Where Council deems it necessary, enforcement action will be taken (infringements, removal of cats).

  1. What are the benefits of desexing my cat?
    There are many health benefits of desexing your cat, as well as getting to the source of the cat overpopulation issue that we face in the City of Whittlesea. 
  2. How does desexing my cat benefit the community?
    Desexing your cat will help to address the overpopulation of cats within the City of Whittlesea and will also assist in nuisance complaints as desexed cats are less likely to roam.
  3. What does desexing involve?
    Desexing involves the removal of reproductive organs. 
  4. What is the cost of desexing your cat?
    Cat desexing starts from $150, but does vary according to sex, age, and other factors. There are a number of affordable cat desexing programs available through the City of Whittlesea, Lort Smith, and the Cat Protection Society. 
  5. Does the Council cover any of the costs?
    Council is offering a subsidised cat desexing program until June 2024. We will be applying for a grant from the State Government and considering funding options as part of our next budget to extend the program beyond this date.
  6. How do I know if I am eligible and can apply for Council subsidised desexing?
    All enquiries and applications about mandatory desexing of newly registered cats and council subsidised desexing should be via email to 
  7. What if I’m intending to breed my cat?
    Some exemptions to the mandatory desexing rule apply. This includes cats that are owned by a registered breeder where the cat is used for breeding purposes.
  8. Are there any exemptions to mandatory cat desexing?
    If you are a registered breeder or a member of an applicable organisation you are exempt from mandatory desexing. If your cat is subject to a written medical advice from a vet that desexing would be harmful to its health.
  9. What age is it recommended that a cat is desexed?
    The RSPCA recommends the desexing of cats at a young age (under 4 months) before they reach puberty but check with your veterinary practitioner on when is right for your cat.
  10. Is early desexing harmful to my cat?
    No, reports suggest that the health benefits of early-age desexing far outweigh any possible side effects of early-age desexing. Please seek advice from your veterinary practitioner if you have any concerns or questions about your cat.
  11. What happens if my cat is impounded and not desexed?
    If your cat is not registered and not desexed and is impounded in the wat djerring Animal Facility, it will need to be desexed at the owner’s cost at the Facility prior to being released. This is due to a new regulation being introduced in the City of Whittlesea requiring all cats being registered for the first time to be desexed unless you are a registered breeder.

Find out about