Two cats per household: council in South Australia brings in cat laws

By Australian Geographic 4 September 2019
Reading Time: 2 Minutes Print this page
The rules are aimed at reducing the impact of cats on the environment and protecting pets from harm.

Two cats per household, compulsory registration and confinement are just some of the new by-laws passed by a South Australian council this week.

Mount Barker District Council says the new rules are aimed at reducing the impact cats have on our environment and keeping the pets safer. 

According to a survey conducted by the council in 2017, which received 526 responses, 76 per of people supported cat registration, 68 per cent supported a limit to two cats per property and 71 per cent supported a cat curfew.

Another 73 per cent said they supported the council addressing cat nuisance and behaviour, including defecating on lawns, spraying on doors, fighting and killing wildlife. 

The council say that the limit of two cats per household is to reduce the number of unwanted kittens that then have to be rehomed by organisations like the RSPCA.

They say there is some leniency in regards to this, but that cat owners will have to submit an application to the council to keep more than two cats at their property. Applicants will also have to seek consent from their neighbours and landlords.

The cat curfew will be from 8pm to 7am, which the council say will be a huge step in reducing the impact cats have on native wildlife and also reduce the risk of getting lost, hit by a car or fighting with other cats.

The Mount Barker District Council isn’t the first South Australian council to introduce cat laws. Adelaide Hills Council will make it compulsory to keep your cat confined by 2022 and City of Marion Council are currently weighing up a cat curfew. 

In an interview with the Guardian Australia, Mount Barker Mayor Ann Ferguson was adamant that the laws did not seek to demonise cats.

“There are more people out there who love cats and tolerate cats,” the mayor said. 

“Cat haters exist but they are few and far between.”

The mayor also confirmed that the details around what would happen if people broke the laws were still being worked out.