About cat curfews

A cat curfew is a specified time when cats are not allowed outside of your property. A dusk to dawn curfew means your cat must not be outside at night time. A 24 hour curfew means your cat must stay on your property at all times.

We are considering a cat curfew after receiving feedback during the recent consultation on our Domestic Animal Management Plan, reports about nuisance cats, reports of environmental impacts of cats in parks and reserves and reports of attacks on wildlife

If a curfew is introduced and residents have issues with cats trespassing during curfew, the resident can request a cat trap from their Council. If a cat is caught during curfew hours then enforcement action can be taken against the cat owner including taking the cat to the Council pound and fining the owner.

There are 79 councils in Victoria and a number of councils in Victoria have a cat curfew.

  • 10 councils have a 24 hour cat curfew
  • 27 councils have a sunset to sunrise cat curfew
  • 17 councils are considering introducing a cat curfew
  • 25 councils do not have a cat curfew and no published plans to introduce one

Implementing the curfew

Cat owners may be fined as part of any cat curfew if their cat is caught off their property during the curfew hours. Officers will educate cat owners for a period of time as part of the introduction of any curfew.

If a cat is trapped during curfew and picked up by officers then the cat will either be returned to the owners or taken to the Epping Animal Welfare Facility. If the cat is collected from Epping Animal Welfare Facility owners will have to pay a reclaim fee. Owners may also face enforcement action like a fine.

Cat curfews will not deal with the 'semi-owned' or stray cat population, but it may assist with these cats if they are deemed a nuisance by property owners and are able to be contained via cat traps.

Council officers will collect any cats from properties that are contained, however cats can also be taken to the Epping Animal Welfare Facility (we will ensure the cat is transported in a safe way).

Any pets that are found in Merri-bek, Darebin and Whittlesea Councils will be listed on the RSPCA website. More information on what to do if your pet goes missing can be found on the RSPCA Lost Pets page.

It’s important that cats are trapped only in approved traps issued by Council and that the instructions provided by Council are followed.

If the cat is registered with Council we will reunite you with it. If a cat is unowned/stray/feral it will be transferred to the Epping Animal Welfare Facility where it will be given a behavioural assessment to find out if it is suitable for adoption.

Yes, it is legal for someone to trap a trespassing cat.

Cat owners

Yes, as long as you have effective control in a securely fitting harness or the cat is in a carrier.

Resources will be available to assist in transitioning your cat to an indoor lifestyle or outdoor enclosure. Some simple methods include:

  • Feeding your cat indoors. Instead of letting your cat back outside as soon as they're finished eating, keep them inside for increasing periods of time.
  • If you're starting your cat's retraining during the winter, a warm, dry bed to snuggle in may be just the ticket to convince them to stay inside.

Yes, your cat is allowed outdoors, providing it remains on your property. Various forms of enclosures are available to buy or make. We will have resources available to help people make the change.

Enrichment activities such as cat towers, keeping plenty of cat toys for them to play with or taking your cat outside on a harness and leash.

If a car curfew is introduced we will provide owners with other resources which will have more information about keeping your cat active.

If a cat is kept active and given enrichment toys, then keeping your cat indoors will have little effect on its mental health. Some products are available if you cat has increased stress to being indoors. Indoor cats are less susceptible to disease and injury.

There are many resources online and if a curfew is introduced we will provide a range of resources for cats, including information from Safe Cats, Safe Wildlife, RSPCA and other organisations.

Yes, all cats over the age of three months are required to be registered under state law. If your cat escapes your property then these fees will assist in returning your cat to you. They also assist in running the Epping Animal Facility, which cares for all cats that are brought into the facility, whether they are owned or not. Registering your pets helps us reunite you with them as we will be able to quickly trace them back to you.