A domestic cat (Felis catus and Prionailurus bengalensis x Felis catus) is one that has an owner, is microchipped, and is kept and fed by humans.
All other cats, including those that are semi-dependent on humans, stray or feral, are non-domestic cats and are listed in schedule 2 of the Biosecurity Act 2014 (Biosecurity Act) as restricted matter, categories 3, 4 and 6. This means that they must not be distributed, given away, sold, traded, released into the environment, moved or fed.
Non-domestic cats are found all over Australia. In Brisbane, they can be found in a wide variety of locations, such as our natural areas, industrial estates, suburban streets and parks.
Problems caused by non-domestic cats
Brisbane is the capital city with the highest diversity of native plants and wildlife in Australia.
Cats have a strong hunting instinct and prey on a wide range of native animals including small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and fish.
In urban areas, cats may also prey on small domestic pets and poultry.
Cats are known to carry parasites including toxoplasmosis and feline hook worm, both of which may impact upon human health. Transmission of viruses such as the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) to domestic cats is potentially fatal. Non-domestic cats can increase the risk to public health and create amenity issues for residents and businesses.
Prevention and control
There are proactive steps you can take to help manage the negative impact of cats, as well as reduce your property’s attractiveness and accessibility to non-domestic cats.
Do not feed non-domestic cats or a cat that you do not own, or release them into the environment. As well as directly impacting our natural environment, health and amenity, it is also a serious offence to feed or release a non-domestic cat under the provisions of the Biosecurity Act and penalties apply. Contact Council on 07 3403 8888 if you witness the feeding or release of non-domestic cats.
Always keep your pets safely secured or inside. Under Council’s Animals Local Law 2017, owners are required to provide an enclosure for your animal to keep it on your property and prevent it from wandering at all times. You can also construct a suitable enclosure to protect poultry from predation by cats and foxes.
Council undertakes an integrated approach to non-domestic cat management to help protect Brisbane’s native wildlife, in accordance with the actions and objectives listed in the Biosecurity Plan for the Brisbane Local Government Area. This includes monitoring, education, trapping and providing assistance to land owners to meet their general biosecurity obligation under the Biosecurity Act.
If you would like assistance managing non-domestic cats on your property yourself or with Council’s assistance, or to register your property as a management location, you can use Council’s online Report it: Feral animal sightings form or phone Council on 07 3403 8888.
Mulgumpin feral cat project
Council was recently awarded Australian Government grant funding through the Bushfire Recovery for Wildlife and Habitat Community Grants Program.
The grant funding will support Council’s Invasive Species Management Team to conduct a 12 month coordinated trapping, management, monitoring, education and training program to directly tackle feral cats on and adjacent to fire-affected areas of Moreton Island (Mulgumpin), and to build community capacity for ongoing management.
The project aims to help the recovery of fire affected native wildlife by reducing predation by feral cats. The program commenced in April 2021 and will assist Council to deliver on its 2031 Vision of achieving well protected habitat areas free of invasive species.
If you’re on Mulgumpin and see feral cats be sure to report them. If you are a Mulgumpin resident or would like to participate or find out more information about the project you can email the project team.