We all know that cats love to wander and keeping them locked up can sometimes be a challenge. But this South Australian town has had enough of cat-astrophes and are enforcing new laws that restrict the freedom of feline pets.

Mount Barker, a town 30 minutes from Adelaide, have passed new restrictions, in which pet owners will need to register their fur babies and ensure that their cats are not wandering outside their property between 8pm and 7am.

This new by-law, which comes in effect next year, also gives council staff the power to fine owners if their pet are caught killing native wildlife or doing their ‘business’ on other properties and just becoming a general ‘nuisance’.

Pet Spies

Council workers would be permitted to become pet spies and set up “covert surveillance” if they received reports of pet “nuisance behaviour”.

“We’re not going to have someone running around at night picking up the cats,” Mount Barker health and safety manager Jamie Tann said.

“But if someone says my neighbour’s cat is repeatedly coming into my yard, we’ll have covert cameras that we can set up in the yard and we could use that as evidence to say your cat is causing a nuisance.”

In addition, the laws also state that people are only allowed to own a maximum of two cats. Although those living in the area, who already have more than two felines will be exempt.

Keep Your Cat At Home

The local community is apparently fully supportive of these new rules.

Mr Tann spoke to The Messenger saying:

“We’re allowing cats to roam for part of the day, but at night when they’re most active and have the most impact on wildlife, we’re expecting them to be kept inside,” he said.

“The safest place for a cat to be is at home — that’s the message we’re trying to get across.”

Mount Barker is not the first council to pass these laws. Another town in South Australia, Adelaide Hills, have passed similar legislation, which comes into effect in 2022.

However, RSPCA South Australia head Paul Stevenson said the state needed to be careful not to “demonise and vilify cats”.

“In general we support councils introducing measures like curfews so our only concern with the Mount Barker measures is that the devil is in the detail,” he said.

“Most of the people who use traps don’t particularly like cats and there are huge problems with that. Some of the cruelty and suffering inflicted on cats through the use of traps is quite horrendous, and I’d just say one of the things we have to be very careful of all round Australia is to not to demonise and vilify cats.”

Do you think these laws should be implemented throughout the country? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • We don’t own a cat, but my parents-in-law own 4 of them. Theirs aren’t allowed outside, they have an outdoor enclosed area that they go in and out of the house to, but they can’t get to any wildlife there. So my in-laws wouldn’t care about this new law if they lived in this town. They would however be unhappy about the only 2 cats rule!

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  • I’m a cat owner and lock my cat up of a night. Such a great law

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  • So they should! I am a cat owner, however, mine is only allowed out in the day time. Cats kill so much of our native wildlife that come out at night and there is also increased breeding activity if people aren’t desexing too. People need to learn to be responsible!

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  • Yes. We have cats roaming our streets every night. I have no idea who they belong to but… they set my dog off, tormenting him and running along the top of the fence. If he catches one…oops! Sorry. They also fight outside our bedroom window and I can always smell cat urine on our front lawn. We’re responsible pet owners of a dog, and I wish there were more responsible pet owners in our street.

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  • We need this in my town. We have to keep our dogs in our yards, so cat owners should have to do the same.

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  • I keep my cat inside so this wouldn’t affect me. I think it’s good as I sometimes find dead birds on my property and cats running across it.

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  • This should be enforced everywhere. They kill too much of our wildlife because they are natural born hunters. Also, it’s for their safety too, so many cats get killed on the road at night because they are roaming about and can’t be seen until it’s too late.

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  • Cats should be inside for their own comfort and safety as well as the wild life. Cats indoor live longer

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  • I thought there already was a cat curfew

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  • No experience with cats and dogs.

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  • I agree this should be nationwide.

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  • I think it’s a great idea and that’s not just because I own a dog. We used to own a few cats over the years and they were always inside at night.

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  • I am a dog person

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  • This should be everywhere. I have a cat and when I am home during the day time, I let her roam (with a collar and bell on) but from around 4pm onwards she is in a giant enclosure or in our house. I don’t believe cats should be left to roam all evening.

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  • Fantastic, should be nationwide, cats kill, I am sick of chasing the neighbours cat at of my yard who is always stalking the birds and has killed a few. Also glad another two cats moved house because they use to meet at my house in the middle of the night and scream at each other.

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