Our vision for cats in the ACT

With about a quarter of Canberra households owning cats, cats are significant part of our society. Cats provide love, companionship, and important health and wellbeing benefits to their owners. In return, it is essential that we provide safe and happy homes for them.

Consultation has now closed on the Draft ACT Cat Plan (the draft plan), which supports a vision where:

‘All cats will be owned, wanted and cared for by responsible cat owners’

Cats and the environment

The draft plan also focuses on how we can better protect native animals from roaming cats.

Living in the bush capital, many of us enjoy and live close to nature. For our native wildlife, this also means that they are often vulnerable to predation from cats.

Research shows that cats have already contributed to the extinction of more than 20 Australian mammals. In Canberra alone, it is estimated that roaming cats predated each year on 61,000 native birds, 2,000 native animals, 30,000 native reptiles and 6,000 native frogs.

The final plan will respond to this issue while also considering animal welfare and community wishes.

You can see the listening report for the consultation in the document library.

About the plan

The draft plan contains eight strategies to address cat management in the ACT.

These strategies include:

Strategy 1

Promote responsible cat ownership

Promote responsible cat ownership through community education and engagement campaigns.

Strategy 2

Improve compliance and enforcement of cat laws

Explore options to improve compliance and enforcement of cat laws including legal obligations for owners to desex,microchip and contain their cat (if they live in a declared cat containment area).

Strategy 3

Reduce the number of semi-owned and un-owned cats through community education, increased adoption rates and strengthening laws to minimise breeding, nuisance and wildlife predation.

Strategy 4

Adopt best practice animal welfare practices and support training and provision of cat management facilities and shelters in the ACT.

Strategy 5

Explore options for expanding cat containment in the ACT (both mandatory and voluntary) to reduce the impact of cats on the environment and improve animal welfare and safety.

Strategy 6

Raise awareness of how feral cats impact on native wildlife and explore opportunities for monitoring, research and control.

Strategy 7

Explore options for managing owned, semi-owned, unowned and feral cats in rural areas and undertake information and training campaigns with rural land holders.

Strategy 8

Raise public awareness about how to reduce risk of infection from cats. Though unlikely, germs from cats may cause a variety of illnesses in people, from minor skin infections to more serious illnesses.



The following are several research papers undertaken on impact, management and ecology associated with cats in Australia.

Click on the links below to read the full paper.

Research on pet cats in the ACT


Australian research on cat management


Australian research on impact of cats on wildlife


Australian research on feral cats



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