Cat curfew redefined as containment in Canberra

The ACT government has put an end to the cat curfew in some Canberra suburbs - and replaced it with cat containment.

Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Shane Rattenbury said the change “aims to enhance community understanding and awareness of the objectives of the law and to more clearly communicate the obligation of those living within cat containment areas”.

Mr Rattenbury introduced a bill on Wednesday changing the word "curfew" to "cat containment" in the Domestic Animals Act 2000.

“While cats play a valuable role as companion animals, roaming cats can pose a serious threat to native flora and fauna in the area,” he said.

Residents who live in cat containment areas are still required to ensure their felines do not stray from their property at any time, a requirement that has led many Canberrans to rely on purpose-built enclosures.

Owners who let their cats roam free still face a penalty of $1400 and an official infringement notice from authorities.


In 2011, the ACT government conducted a survey of residents within cat containment areas and 65 per cent of residents supported the containment policy.

The survey found contained cats had fewer injuries and less chance of being killed by motor vehicles.

“Roaming or uncontained cats are four times more likely to suffer significant injures at least once a year, compared to those that are contained at all times,” Mr Rattenbury said.

Cat containment areas are new suburbs that have been selected due to their proximity to nature reserves. They are: Bonner, Crace, Coombs, Denman Prospect, Forde, Lawson, Molonglo, Wright and The Fair in North Watson.


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