Australian Town Implements Two Cat Per Household Policy

How many cats do you have? For myself, I have three—but to be totally honest, I’d love to have more! Most of us cat lovers can agree, cats are better when there’s more to be had! For Australians in the town of Mount Barker (yes, really), cat owners are going to start being limited to two cats per household policy. All in an effort to help control the influx of Australian cats that are destroying indigenous wildlife.

It’s been known for years that Australia is experiencing a “cat problem”—both in terms of feral and domesticated. The town feels that they are doing their part in a joint effort to cull two million feral cats by 2020 because they are considered an invasive species.

The planed policy for the cat by-law has 4 stages which are being implemented and strictly enforced:

  • Two cats per property (more than 2 is deemed “animal hoarding”); households who currently have 2+ are exempt
  • All felines, including canines, must be registered via the town council
  • “Nuisance” behavior—i.e., a cat “creating an issue which interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of a person, including but not limited to a cat(s) displaying aggressive nature or creating unpleasant noise or odor” will be addressed immediately
  • A cat curfew is in order between the hours of 8PM to 7AM, which is intended to greatly reduce the “nuisance” behavior while protecting people’s cats.

The details of the new law, according to the Mount Barker District Council’s website:

The new cat by-law will include the following changes:

Council will trial a transition period to finalise details (including dispensation processes, fines and actions)

Limit to cat numbers (2 per property)

Placing a limit on the number of cats which can reside at a property will assist with the reduction of unwanted kittens which require rehoming. It will also build the capacity to addresses excessive cat numbers causing health, nuisance and welfare issues.

The Cat By-law allows for some flexibility when it comes to cat numbers at a premises.

Similar to requests in relation to dog numbers, cat owners will need to apply to Council to seek approval for more than two cats to be kept at their property. An application form and an application process will be available on our website in coming weeks.

In assessing the request to keep more than two cats on a property, Council staff will require the applicant to seek the consent of their immediate neighbours. If the property is a rental then written consent of the property owner or the managing land agent will be required.

In addition:

  • all the cats being kept on the premises will need to be desexed;
  • no insanitary condition is being caused by keeping of the cats on the premises; and
  • no nuisance is being caused by the cats

If Council receives complaints about cats once dispensation has been granted, or cats from the property have been observed to be contravening the curfew, then the dispensation for an extra cat can be revoked.

The city’s Mayor, Ann Ferguson, claims that she is a “cat lover” and does not want people to think that this new policy was proposed as an unfair treatment to cat owners or an attack against cared for felines:

“There are more people out there who love cats and tolerate cats…Cat haters exist but they are few and far between.” — Ann Ferguson, Mayor of Mount Barker

The purpose of the law is to protect owned cats, but while also protecting the property of others as well as wildlife that calls the area home: “Cats defecating on people’s lawns, cats spraying on people’s front doors and cats fighting in the garden and also killing wildlife,” Ferguson explains.

Before the policy was introduced, the city council of Mount Barker polled residents to gather their opinions. It was discovered that:

  • 76% supported cat registration
  • 68% supported a two cat per house cap
  • 71% supported a cat curfew
  • 73% supported the council addressing cat “nuisance” behavior when it occurs

It seems that Australia has declared war on its population of feral cats, with firm plans to eradicate two million free roaming cats by 2020.

It is estimated that the total of feral cats is thought to be somewhere between 2 and 6 million. Their plan of action to do so? Well, you can read more on that here, should you wish. But basically, they’re going to use poisonous sausages to do it.

“We are not culling cats for the sake of it, we are not doing so because we hate cats…We have got to make choices to save animals that we love, and who define us as a nation.” — Gregory Andrews, National Commissioner of Threatened Species for Australia
According to CNN, cats are believed to kill more than 1 million native birds, and 1.7 million reptiles across Australia everyday. We understand the need to protect wildlife, but it breaks my heart to think millions of cats are being put to death to do it.

So, what do you think about this new cat by-law and the plans to kill feral cats? Do you think that it is a fair policy? Share with us in the comments section and let us know your thoughts.

Story written in conjunction with Cattitude Daily


Related Story: Town In New Zealand Attempting To Ban All Domestic Cats; Do They Have Legit Concerns?

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  1. Myself, I keep my cats indoor and believe it would behoove other cat owners who claim to love their cats to also keep their cats indoor which would negate the whole nuisance issue. Killing cats wholesale is not a viable solution, especially by poison.

  2. Hey! Do you know who kills more endangered species than them? Us! Why don’t they start asking for only 2 kids per couple? They are doing what is convenient for the people, not for cats. Investing in spaying all the feral cats may be expensive, but that is actually respecting and thinking of cats.

  3. Why is that cats always get the blame. What about the owners who let them roam, dont get them desexed. It is their fault. Poisoned sausages not on.
    Humanely put them down.

  4. Now, to be fair… they need to have to same requirement for dogs and also children. All people living in the township can have no more than 2 dogs or 2 children. If they become a nuisance after an initial warning then the owners will lose the privilege of having 2.

  5. When they air drop these poisoned sausages, are they considering other wildlife that might eat them? Are they monitoring the area to see who eats them?

    While I understand and condone drastic measures, I can see other animals being attracted as well. These sausages might not work as well as they want. It could cause more environmental damage than they think.

    Would it be possible to appropriate the funds to monitor and trap cats?

    In such a case, I can see euthanizing caught cats (though it disgusts me), but this method of trapping with humane traps AND monitoring on a large scale, especially trapping families of cats and their kittens is probably more effective in the long run. And having citizens watch their neighborhood for feral and community cats can help narrow down the targets areas.

    Project the cost of wildlife lost in a year. Then appropriate that sum of money for targeted trapping from citizen reports, and that will cut down more cat overpopulation than blanket poisoning.

    Cats are smart. They will avoid poison. Why should they eat that sausage when a tasty lizard is close at hand?

    Work smarter, not harder. Trap cats, and monitor cat movement. It takes employee hours, but I’ll bet the results in a year will be surprisingly successful.

    • Australia is huge geographically, and sparsely populated. The money and manpower required to trap and monitor cat movement for the continent would be enormous. That is why most local councils have such strict rules – to prevent the problem from getting worse.


    Many, many local councils in Australia have ‘limits’ on the number of cats that can be registered per household – and some areas have a no-cat policy due to environmental concerns (one suburb of my own town included).

    In most cases this does NOT MEAN that it is absolutely impossible to have more than the set number of cats. It does mean that the registration fee is higher for each additional cat that you own. I think there is special dispensation for cat breeders – which also means that breeding is under much tighter surveillance to limit unregistered breeders and kitten farms.

    ALSO – most councils make the pet registration fee much lower for spayed/neutered cats. So there is an additional incentive for people to do the right thing.

    AND – all cats adopted from shelters and vets will not be adopted out unless they have been neutered. Strays/ferals, when captured, are neutered and then rehabilitated so they can be adopted.

    Local councils are trying to do the right thing. Our environment is very delicate. Our native wildlife evolved in an environment that has no NATIVE felines so they are particularly at risk. They have no natural evolved responses to feline predators.

    IT DOES NOT MEAN AUSTRALIANS HATE CATS. It DOES mean local councils are trying to keep feral cat populations under control and to stop unscrupulous breeders.

    As a long-time fan, I must admit to being disappointed. This is a serious issue in Australia. Most local councils in Australia have a cat-curfew and a cat number limit, it is common practise, and is proving to help reduce the number of feral cats and to help protect vulnerable native species. To see this reduced to a click-baiting article that has provoked angry reactions – largely due to ignorance – is very upsetting.

  7. Sooo…What about the global invasive species, the notorious h___n b___g species who are “culling”, not only the naturally abiding eco system, but limiting or silencing its own naturally abiding indigenous “h___n b___g family members to secure a stronghold to accommodate the ever expanding destructive VIP! “special needs” – space, safety, serenity – out of control population growth on every single continent on the planet?
    I mean, are we not the word for word text book example of an invasive species.
    We have the superior capacity to justify and create means to “choke out” anything seeming to be in our way except our own globally self destructive thinking. We give ourselves the for now “good life” even KNOWING the outcome.
    Forgive me if I’m wrong. I don’t think cats or ANY other species can match our purpous defeating “special ability” to f__k up everything unfortunate enough to be in our path – or wake – including our own entitled [selves].
    A few folks going to bat to save the planet won’t do. We need to wake up, sober up, and GROW UP – not out – and take on the difficult task of cleaning up behind yesterday’s big celebration!
    And we would be very wise to point our superior h___n intelligence to the greater good of awareness and self-determined action to continuously “watch what we’re doin” and “pick up after” the innnately caring, nurturing individuals behind the feeding frenzy.
    This is not a thing to take lightly. WE ARE CULLING OURSELVES all else we may deem precious.
    We have a “special job” to do.

    Just a worthwhile run-on thought…..

    Thank you very much for taking time from your day to read it.


  8. Yes, there are people that don’t like cats or appreciate them being around, but they are God’s creation so by killing them is destroying what He created on this earth. Then there should be a limit on how many children you can have, because tax payers end up supporting these children when their parents are too lazy to work. Yes, I am a crazy cat lady and rather put up with cats than the nonsense of people. First it will be kill the cats and then they will decide older people don’t have a purpose and they will kill them next.

  9. There was a time in my life when I wanted to migrate to Australia, but didn’t have the money.
    Now I’ m content with my life in Europe, where there are no restrictions on the number of cats one can have and cats can enjoy life without restrictions. And a good life for a cat includes going out at night, especially in summer. My cats came from the streets and there is no use trying to keep them inside.
    But it seems that in Australia authorities use the protection of native fauna as a pretext to impose more and more rules to control peoples’ lives.


Written by Modi Ramos

Crazy cat lady since birth and lover of all things feline. Owner of CattitudeDaily and former Editor of iHeartCats. Meow!

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