Eight-month-old Mabel lives a very good life.
With water views and a balcony to explore, she's one very-well-catered-for cat.
Mabel's owner, Steph Woodbridge, recently had netting installed across her balcony, which means Mabel can be outside without risk of escaping or falling.
"I wanted her to be able to be out on the balcony. She'll sit up here and watch people at the cafe [below]. Cats can survive falls, but you know, I might never get her back. She might fall into one of the courtyards with big dogs downstairs," Ms Woodbridge said.
Paul Maher from Purrfect Pens, who installed the netting, said he expected to see a spike in interest after cat containment is expanded across the ACT.
"It's just people who want their cat to have some outdoor time and also people who are concerned about wildlife. And obviously that's part of the government's plan. They can sunbake, they can take in the sights and sounds of the neighbourhood and remain safe from injury and disease - as well as keep the wildlife protected," Mr Maher said.
Mr Maher, who went into business a few months ago, said he was receiving up to 10 inquiries a week.
"The enclosures can range from a balcony, a patio - I've had enquiries for whole backyards. Rather than enclosing whole backyards, there's also options to extend the fence upwards and inwards on an angle," he said.
The ACT government on Friday revealed cats acquired after July 1, 2022 would need to be contained in all suburbs. All domestic cats would also need to be registered under changes outlined in the 10-year cat plan.
Dr Eloise Bright, a vet at the RSPCA in Canberra, said most cats would be fine if they were used to being kept indoors or contained.
"Even some of the cats we get here that come in off the street, they're often very content being inside and not having to worry about the stress of fending for themselves. It's amazing how cats can adapt to living in suburban homes," Dr Bright said.
Dr Bright said it was important to keep contained cats stimulated.
"Cats do like to hunt but you can also make sure they're happy inside by increasing their play, helping them work for their food. Putting all of their food in balls or making them work or hunt for it indoors. Then you can satisfy that natural play drive," she said.
Kath Crawford, who runs Flossie's Kitten Rescue, said she welcomed the new cat containment policy, but it would need to be enforced.
"A roaming cat is a cat in danger, in my opinion. Cat containment is essential," Ms Crawford said.
Ms Crawford said the ACT government should fund a low-cost desexing program for pet owners, a move that would greatly reduce the number of stray cats.
"Cat containment alone doesn't stop the number of kittens being born because people can't afford to desex them, because vets are very expensive," she said.
Ms Crawford said the ACT government also needed to provide clarity for trap, neuter and release programs, which run officially and semi-officially.
The programs desex and release stray cats as part of efforts to reduce the number of unowned cats, allowing colonies to decline by natural attrition.
Ms Crawford said permanently removing cats disrupted social structures within colonies, allowing new cats to join and breed.
"Culling grows your colonies, [trap, neuter, release] limits your colonies over time. There's extensive evidence this works," she said.
"This government has been absolutely remarkable with their legislation that they've introduced in terms of animal welfare. But writing legislation is not enough, you have to also do the things. You have to stump up the money."
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