Non-domestic cats

There are three distinct population of cats in Queensland:

  • owned or domestic cats
  • non-domestic cats
  • feral cats

A domestic cat (Felis catus and Prionailurus bengalensis x Felis catus) is one that has an owner, is microchipped, kept, fed and housed by humans. These animals are regulated under the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 and Brisbane City Council's local laws.

Non–domestic cats also known as unowned or stray cats. These cats are abandoned or lost cats and are often found living in large colonies in and around industrial areas, and suburban shopping precincts.

True feral cats are wild cats, generally solitary animals who live of the land hunting and scavaging in natural areas. They have no association with humans.

Under the Biosecurity Act 2014 feral cats and non-domestic cats, including those that are semi-dependent on humans, are listed as an Invasive Biosecurity Matter. Under this Act, a person must not distribute, dispose, move or feed these cats.

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. Transmition of viruses such as the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) to domestic cats is usually fatal. Cat colonies can increase the risk to public health and create amenity issues for residents and businesses. 


Landholders are legally responsible for the management and destruction of feral pest animals including non-domestic cats. The Act requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).

Local Government Authorities are responsible for compliance according to the Biosecurity Act 2014, surveillance and raising awareness.

Prevention and control

Council manages non-domestic cats in accordance with the actions and objectives listed in the Biosecurity Plan for the Brisbane Local Government Area.

There are steps that can help to 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 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 2014. Contact Council on 07 3403 8888 if you witness feeding or release of non-domestic cats.


Council undertakes control programs to help protect Brisbane’s native wildlife. You can register your property as a management location using Council’s Feral animal sightings online form or contact Council on 07 3403 8888.

More information

Find out more about caring for your cat. Alternatively, you can find out more by phoning Council on 07 3403 8888.

Last updated:16 December 2019