Keeping a cat
Council aims to keep Brisbane a pet-friendly city by ensuring the keeping of a cat does not become a nuisance to neighbours, destroy wildlife or endanger themselves or people.
Your responsibilities as a cat owner
In Brisbane, there are important rules you should follow to ensure you are a responsible cat owner:
As a responsible cat owner, you should also:
- identify your cat with a collar and tag
- desex your cat before it is six months old
- vaccinate your cat annually
- ensure your cat does not cause a nuisance for neighbours or impact wildlife
- don’t leave uneaten pet food outside as this can attract pest or stray animals
- keep your cat inside or secured to your property
- don't let your pet attack or scare people
Read more about responsible cat ownership (Word - 93kb).
Cats must be microchipped:
- before reaching the age of 12 weeks
- when sold (seller responsibility)
- if given away (responsibility on the person giving away the animal).
The benefits of microchipping
A microchip is a permanent form of electronic identification. The microchip implant is about the size of a grain of rice and causes no discomfort to your pet. Your local vet can implant the microchip.
The barcode contains your contact details recorded on an animal records database for the life of your pet. If your pet is not wearing a collar, it can still be identified Australia-wide and returned to you.
Maintaining microchip information
Whenever you move address, it is your responsibility to contact your microchip registry to update your details as soon as possible. This provides an increased chance of reuniting with your pet if it is lost.
You must prevent your cat from wandering and causing a nuisance to neighbours. A cat enclosure is the best way to keep your cat safe. Your cat is less likely to be hurt in fights, pick up diseases, be hit by a car or cause a nuisance. A cat spraying or disrupting domestic or native animals may provoke anger from neighbours. They also risk collection by a Council officer.
Keeping your cat indoors or in an enclosed area outside prevents it preying on native animals. Putting bells or reflective mirrors on your cat's collar may also be effective if native wildlife can get into the enclosure.
Cat population control and breeding cats
Council aims to eliminate the problem of unwanted cats and promote responsible cat ownership by:
- ensuring residents comply with the Animals Local law 2017
- using trapping programs to reduce or eliminate non-domestic cat colonies in wildlife habitats and commercial areas.
As part of Council’s commitment to responsible cat ownership, we often partner with organisations that undertake annual de-sexing initiatives with the aim of reducing the number of unwanted kittens born in Queensland. These campaigns contribute to reducing the impact of unwanted animals in rehoming centres and reduces the population growth of feral cats. It also provides an opportunity to highlight the benefits of de-sexing pets while further encouraging responsible pet ownership.
Between 1 June and 31 August 2021, Council is partnering with the RSPCA in their Operation Wanted program. During this time, you can register to receive 20% off the cost of desexing your pet at participating veterinarians. To find out more about this program, visit the RSPCA website.
In Brisbane, you can keep up to three cats without a permit. If you want to keep more than three cats, you will need to apply for a permit. If keeping more than three cats is authorised under a development approval issued by Council, a permit is not required.
Deciding if a cat is the right pet for you
Cats have a reputation for being independent, but they still need care and discipline for their own health and safety.
If you are thinking of getting a cat you should think about:
- how much grooming it will need
- if the breed you want is shy and quiet or active and robust
- if it will be an indoor cat or if you have appropriate fencing or enclosures to prevent it causing a nuisance to neighbours or impacting wildlife
- the time and costs involved.
Advice about choosing the right cat for you is available if you adopt a cat from a Council Animal Rehoming Centre.
Council is committed to responsible cat ownership and encouraging Brisbane residents to do their part by keeping cats contained to their property. Roaming cats can spread diseases, cause injury to themselves or other cats, injure or kill wildlife and can cause damage to property.
Council’s Animals Local Law 2017 requires a keeper of an animal to provide an enclosure and prevent the animal from wandering. Council understands that sometimes a person may not know that their animal is wandering or the extent of the nuisance that it may be causing.
There are numerous ways a cat owner can safely contain a cat to their property and there are plenty of options that could be considered including but not limited to:
- Provide further stimulation (for example scratching poles, cat runs, toys etc);
- Keeping the cat indoors;
- Modifying existing fencing; or
- Provide prefabricated cat runs.
Handling wandering cat complaints
If you see a wandering cat and know where it resides, Council encourages you to make contact with the cat owner. To assist you, Council have created a Wandering cat letter (Word - 15kb), that can be filled out anonymously and provided to the cat owner.
If you believe the cat is feral/non-domesticated, Council operates control programs promoting the protection of Brisbane’s native wildlife. To register your property as a management location please fill out Council’s Feral animal sightings online form or contact Council.
Report to Council
If you are not comfortable or feel unsafe approaching the cat owner, or if the cat continues to wander after the owner has had time to resolve the problem, you can report the issue to Brisbane City Council by phone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on (07) 3403 8888.
Council does not trap pet cats on private premises in response to disputes between residents.
If a domestic cat is causing a nuisance, your best option is to talk to the cat's owner and try to resolve it. You can report to Council domestic cats causing an ongoing nuisance.
What to do if your cat is lost?
Refer to Council's Lost and found animals page.