Ranges cat curfew begins


By Jessica Micallef

A cat curfew is now in place across the Macedon Ranges.

All cats within the region must be confined to their owner’s property from sunset to sunrise.

Cats are also prohibited from entering the shire’s most “sensitive” environmental areas including Mount Gisborne Reserve, Malmsbury Common, Gisborne Marshlands, Woodend Grassland and Hanging Rock Reserve.

The curfew, which came into effect on July 1, is part of the councils’ Dog and Cat Control Order 2019, which also included the introduction of designated dog on-and-off-leash areas on January 1.

The council is encouraging cat owners to familiarise themselves with the new legal requirements, including the prohibited areas.

The introduction of the cat curfew and prohibited areas is in line with the council’s priorities to promote health and wellbeing and protect the natural environment.

The council’s planning and environment director, Angela Hughes, said the council recognised building cat enclosures and making behavioural adjustments for cats would take time.

“We are asking cat owners to implement appropriate overnight housing for their cat or cats now,” she said.

“With many cats owners currently spending more time at home, this is a great opportunity to work on changing your cat or cats’ behaviour and monitor your cat for possible signs of stress while it adapts to change.”

Cat owners are also encouraged to seek out information about cat behaviour training and enrichment options.

“The council’s website is a great source of information for hints and tips around confining cats,” Ms Hughes said.

“It also contains the details of the new cat curfew including a list of prohibited areas for cats.”

Council rangers and local law officers are available to assist residents to understand the new requirements.

The new cat laws are a result of public consultation that began with the development of the Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021.

Ms Hughes said the council had worked to balance the needs of cats, their owners and the community while also reducing the impact of cats on the environment.

Details: mrsc.vic.gov.au/cats or 5422 0333.