The ACT Government has today released a new plan to help cats live longer and healthier lives while better protecting native wildlife.
The ACT Cat Plan 2021-31 has been developed to support responsible pet ownership and balance the wellbeing of cats with management of their impact on Canberra’s environment.
It follows detailed consultation with cat owners, environmental groups and the broader community undertaken on the draft plan.
The measures outlined in the ACT Cat Plan will promote practices that help keep cats safe from accidents and illness. They will also improve our ability to reunite lost cats with their families more quickly through new registration requirements.
The ACT Plan Cat includes eight strategies which will be progressively rolled out over the next 10 years. Priority actions will include the introduction of annual registration requirements for pet cats from 1 July 2022.
New cat owners will be required to pay a one-off fee when they first register a cat and will then need to update their details annually at no additional cost. There will be no charge for existing cat owners to register their current cat.
The plan will also introduce city-wide cat containment requirements for new cats obtained after 1 July 2022. Grandfathering arrangements will apply for cats owned before this date, exempting them from compulsory containment where their owners do not live in a cat containment suburb.
All new Canberra suburbs will continue to be declared as full cat containment areas, in line with current policy.
A cat that is contained at home not only provides a happy and healthy cat, it is also good news for wildlife. Every year, free-roaming but owned Canberra cats are estimated to prey on 61,000 native birds, 2,000 native mammals, 30,000 native reptiles and 6,000 native frogs.
Following today’s release of the Plan, the ACT Government will progress the legislative changes required to implement key aspects such as annual registration and expanded cat containment. This will include amendments to allow owners in cat containment suburbs to walk their cat on a lead, which is currently prohibited.
The Government will run extensive information and education campaigns prior to these changes taking effect.
To read the ACT Cat Plan 2021–31 and the community consultation report, visit the YourSay website.