Cats are much loved and valued pets for many people. It has been estimated however that cats kill more than 75 million native animals a year. They can also spread diseases to livestock, humans and wildlife.
As we live in an area abundant in native wildlife, some of which are threatened, and where agriculture is an important industry, we encourage all cat owners to be responsible cat owners.
We are supporting a Northern Regional Cat Management Strategy, implementing local priorities and collaborating with other councils and stakeholders to promote responsible cat management as part of the Tasmanian Cat Management initiative. Animal welfare must be the first consideration for cat control.
For details and more information about cat management in Tasmaina visit the Responsible Cat Ownership webpages of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania (NRE).
The Cat Management Act includes rules for keeping, breeding and trapping cats (seizing, detaining, destroying and releasing). Under the Act:
- Cats older than four months must be desexed and microchipped (exceptions apply).
- Only registered breeders or a person holding a cat breeding permit are permitted to breed cats (and that includes sinply letting a cat breed).
- Cats that are sold or given away must be more than eight weeks old, desexed, microchipped and have passed a health check.
- A Permit is required to keep more than four cats on an individual property (with some exeptions, such as registered breeders and visiting cats).
- In certain circumstances, trapping, seizing and humane destruction of cats is permited and landowners and managers can control ‘roaming and nuisance’ cats found on their land.
Council’s microchipping and desexing subsidy is no longer being offered for 2022.
Applications for Council’s subsidy are no longer being recieved due welfare concerns and difficulties speying pregnant female cats, who are increasingly likely to be pregnant from mid-spring.
A subsidy may be offered again in future to enourage Responsible Cat Management.
Having your valued cat microchipped means if it strays from home it can be identified as your pet and come home.
Desexing your cat means it’s not going to add to the struggling stray and roaming cat populations around our townships. Or make the feral cat problem worse in Tasmania’s native habitats.
Getting your cat microchipped and desexed
Recent changes to the Cat Management Act include a requirement that all cats be microchipped and desexed at 4 months or older. (There can be exceptions, for example veterinary health reasons or for lawful breeders.)
To help cat owners Council provided a subsidy to Break O’Day cat owners in 2022 for around half of the costs at the Vet of microchipping and desexing their cat. Cat owners need to contribute about $50 towards the costs for each cat.
Our subsidy offer was available from August to mid October 2022 to
- concession card holders for up to four cats per household, and
- for roaming/semi-owned cats, to encourage people who may have one visiting to take it off the streets and into their home, as their own pet.
Lookout for news from Council of a subsidy being available again. And for more information see on cats in Tasmania see the TassieCat website, TassieCat facebook page and visit the Responsible Cat Ownership webpages of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania.
The introduction of the Cat Management Act in 2009 initiated new efforts to tackle cat problems in Tasmania. In 2016 the Tasmanian Government released its Cat Management Plan and in 2019 it launched the Tasmanian Cat Management Project ‘TassieCat’ and amendments to improve the Cat Management Act came into force between 1 March 2021 and 2022.
It has been estimated that cats kill more than 75 million native animals a year in Australia, including some species threatened with extinction. Cats also can carry diseases which affect sheep, other animals and humans, such as toxoplasmosis which can cause miscarriage and birth defects.
As we live in an area abundant in native wildlife and livestock grazing is important to our local economy, we encourage all cat owners to understand their responsibilities as a cat owner. Three things to do are microchip and desex your cat and keep it safe, at home and not roaming.
If you are concerned about stray and roaming cats near you the Cat Management Act includes rules for trapping cats (seizing, detaining, destroying and releasing). Always treat animals humanely and respect their welfare (the Animal Welfare Act applies).
Under the Cat Management Act:
- A person is permitted to trap a cat on their private property, provided the trap is checked at least once within every 24-hour period after the trap is first set; and a trapped cat is either returned to its owner; or taken to a Cat Management Facility or a nominee of a Cat Management Facility, within 24 hours of being trapped. Arrangements should be made with cat management facilities before setting a trap.
- A person managing ‘primary production land’ or occupier of ‘production premises’ is permitted to humanely destroy a cat on ‘primary production land’ or at ‘production premises’. Persons undertaking lethal cat management action would need to comply with other relevant legislation, such as the Animal Welfare Act 1993 and the Firearms Act 1996.
Managers of Crown Land and formal nature conservation reserves (Prohibited Areas for cats) may trap, seize or humanely destroy a cat found on those areas. Council can declare Council land as Prohibited Areas also, and declare Cat Management Areas elsewhere, to support actions to reduce cat populations and to encourage responsible car care.
TassieCat has good information (here) that will help you and your neighbourhood if you are concerned about stray or roaming cat problems. Council does not have any Cat Management Facilities for the surrender and sheltering of cats.
You can find more information from the Responsible Cat Ownership webpages of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania. For more information on feral cat management see the Department’s feral cats webpage.