Roaming and Nuisance Cats

​​​​​​​​​Nuisance cats

As pets, cats are wonderful companion animals and have a range of health benefits for their owners. But, if not managed well, cats can also be a nuisance in our community and have serious impacts on our agriculture and wildlife.

If you are experiencing a problem with a nuisance cat, you should try to talk with its owner about the problem or drop a friendly letter in their letter box. TassieCat has a handy letter te​mplate that you could consider using. If this proves unsuccessful or you are not comfortable with this approach, the Cat Management Act 2009​ permits trapping of cats  under certain conditions.

Trapping of cats
Any person is permitted to trap, seize or detain a cat on their private property. If a person sets a trap, the person must check the trap and remove any animals contained in the trap, at least once every 24 hours after first setting the trap.

A person, within 24 hours of trapping, seizing or detaining a cat, must either:
Cat Management Facilities are run by not-for-profit organisations and operate on public donations and other fundraising activities. 

If setting the trap results in the detention of an animal other than a cat, the person must release the animal at the same location, subject to a prohibition on releasing the animal contained in any other Act, as soon as practicable, but in any case, no later than 24 hours after first setting the trap.

Before you decide to start trapping, there are several things you need to consider:
  • Under the Animal Welfare Act 1993, if you set a trap you are automatically deemed to be responsible for the care of any animal caught in the trap and have a duty to take all reasonable measures to ensure the welfare of any animal caught in the trap.
  • Unless you are permitted to euthanise a cat, all trapped cats must be returned to their owner or taken to a cat management facility​ or their nominee, within 24 hours of the cat being trapped.
  • Make contact with your local cat management facility about your intention to set a trap. Ask if the facility is currently in a position to accept a trapped cat.
  • It is a good idea to advise your neighbours through a letterbox drop that you intend to trap any cats that roam onto your property. This is not required by legislation, but is considered good practice. A template for a neighbourhood letter on cat trapping can be downloaded from TassieCat - Cats in the Neighbourhood​.
  • Will you be able to check the trap at least once, but preferably twice a day?
  • Are you able to arrange transport of the cat to a cat management facility​ within 24 hours of it being trapped?
Surrendering a cat to a Cat Management Facility:
  • Before setting a trap with the intention of trapping a cat and taking it to a cat management facility, you should contact your nearest cat management facility to ensure they will have the capacity to take any cat that you trap.
  • Before taking a domestic, stray or feral cat to a cat management facility, contact should be made with the cat management facility.
  • Cat management facilities​ do not accept cats 7 days a week. Cats are accepted through a booking system only, to ensure they have the capacity to accommodate the cat, and a vet is on site to conduct a health check of the cat in a timely manner.
  • Cat management facilities do not accept cats in all trap types. Please discuss with your nearest cat management facility the type of trap you will be using before setting a trap. A cat in a trap that poses a risk to the cat or to the staff at the cat management facility when transferring the cat from the trap to one of their cages, will not be accepted by a cat management facility.
  • There may be a fee associated with surrendering a cat to a cat management facility​. Discuss any fees that may be incurred with the facility before setting a trap.
Please read the TassieC​​at Guideline​ for the rules and processes related to trapping a cat in urban and peri-urban areas.

Don't feed stray cats or kittens

About one in five households feed a stray cat that does not belong to them. Many stray cats are not desexed, and feeding them supports breeding, resulting in greater impacts on native wildlife, disease spread, public nuisance and more cats in the stray/feral population. Do not feed a cat that is not yours.

​Humane destruction of cats

The Cat Management Act 2009 permits the following persons to humanely destroy a cat:
  • A person managing primary production on primary production land,
    (Primary production land has the same meaning as in the Land Tax Act 2000​);

  • A person who is the occupier of production premises,
    (Production premises means premises used (a) in relation to agriculture; or horticulture; or viticulture; or aquaculture; or (b) for the preparation or storage, for commercial purposes, of food for humans or animals; or (c) as an abattoir; or for any associated purpose);

  • A person acting on behalf of a person managing primary production on the primary production land or a person occupying production premises;

  • The owner of private premises if the location at which the cat is found is more than 1km from any structure or building used as a place of residence;

  • An authorised person, or a person acting on behalf of an authorised person, in a prohibited area,
    (Prohibited areas include Crown Land, private timber reserves, reserved land and land subject to a conservation covenant under the Nature​ Conservation Act 2002​ and State Forests and Reserves);

  • A person responsible for a prohibited area, or a person acting on behalf of a responsible person, in a prohibited area;

  • A person or organisation specified in the declaration of a Cat Management Area to undertake humane destruction,
    (A Cat Management Area is an area of land within the municipal area of a council declared by the council to be an area within which measures may be taken in respect of cats).

​Please note: All cat management activities must be conducted in accordance with all relevant legislation, including the Cat Management Act 2009, the Animal Welfare Act 1993​, and the Firearms Act 1996​Penalties apply for inhumane activities and other breaches of those Acts.

Local councils may also introduce by-laws requiring registration of cats within their area as well as declare 'prohibited areas' and 'cat management areas' where certain control activities may occur. 

Many public areas, such as reserves under the Nature​ Conservation Act 2002​ (e.g. National Parks) and Forestry Act 1920 (e.g. State Forests), are automatically designated as 'prohibited areas' for cats. Cats found in these areas may be trapped, seized or humanely destroyed.

​Never dump your unwanted kittens or cat

Dumping or abandoning cats or kittens is an offence under the Cat Management Act 2009, severe penalties apply. Dumped cats are likely to become feral and prey on wildlife as a food source. Unwanted cats and kittens should be taken to a Cat Management Facility.

Contact a Cat Management Facility for assistance with unwanted cats.

Further Information


Invasive Species Branch
Phone: 03 6165 3777