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Put a paws on cats roaming outdoors

Cats don’t have to roam outdoors to be happy. Keeping your cat indoors helps to keep them safe and healthy, and protects our native wildlife.


Cats are wonderful companions and are a popular pet choice. Highly adaptable and flexible, cats fit into domestic life easily.

When it comes to protecting your feline friend, keeping your cat contained is just as important as microchipping and desexing. If you own a cat, you must comply with a number of legislative and environmental health requirements, and ensure your cat is not a nuisance or menace to your neighbours and the wider community.

  • Cats must be contained to your property. (A maximum of two cats can be kept on a property of any size - a permit is required for additional cats.)
  • Microchip your cat. (Cats do not need to be registered, however microchipping is compulsory for cats aged 12 weeks and over.) 
  • Have your cat desexed.

Find a link to the Permit to keep more than the allowable number of cats and dogs application form below.

Contain your cat safely on your property

Many cat owners are in the routine of letting their cat outside to roam but it’s far better for cats to be kept safely indoors. Cats are predators by nature and will go looking for mates, defend territory and hunt wildlife outdoors. Wandering cats are also at risk of injury from cat-fights, dogs, snakes, ticks or being hit by a car.

Cats don’t have to roam outdoors to be happy. There are many ways you can keep your cat happily contained:

  • Daily play sessions - set aside some time each day to play and help to fulfil their strong hunting and chasing instincts. Give them their own dedicated area, toys and climbing equipment.
  • Modify existing fencing to make it cat proof – give your cat access to the whole yard, and know they are safely contained to your property.
  • A free standing outdoor enclosure with shade and shelter – give your cat the best of both worlds.

Find links to more information about how to keep your cat contained below.

View our video - Cat Owners Guide - Put a 'paws' on roaming outdoors for some 'pawsome' tips on containing your cat.

Keeping your cat happy

Keep your cat happy by creating an interesting environment which fulfils its physical, mental and social needs, such as:

  • Toys - you can buy toys, but boxes and ribbons are often just as effective.
  • High resting places - a window ledge, scratching post, or specially-constructed, non-slip shelf with views of the outdoors.
  • Enclosed spaces - cats love to hide. A cardboard box, scratching tower with an enclosed platform, or an 'igloo' bed are all great options.
  • Bedding - an assortment of beds in sunny spots, some up high and others low.
  • Vegetation - most cats enjoy nibbling, sniffing and rubbing against plants such as grass seedlings, cat mint and catnip. Be careful! Some plants are poisonous to cats such as the Lily family (Lilium spp). Contact your veterinarian for more information.
  • Company and space - cats prefer their own personal space with all the essentials (food, water, bed and litter tray). Before getting another pet, consider the space in your home to ensure your cats won't feel overcrowded.

Microchip your cat

It is compulsory under State legislation for cats aged three months and older to be microchipped.

Due to lack of identification only 13 per cent of cats are reunited with their owner. Microchipping is a permanent means of identification and helps us reunite lost cats with their owners.

Remember to always update your microchip records with current address and contact details.

Desex your cat

Desexing your cat will help them live a healthier, longer life, reducing injury, exposure to disease, aggressive behaviour in males, roaming, spraying and noise nuisance.

Early desexing is advised to help reduce unwanted kittens, as cats can reproduce from an early age. Thousands of unwanted kittens are surrendered every year and unfortunately not all are able to find new homes.

Are you struggling to afford to desex your cat? Call 07 5509 9001 to find out about a cat desexing subsidy.

Local laws

Local laws aim to keep your cat safe. They help to:

  • protect your cat from death, injury and disease
  • prevent unplanned pregnancies – reducing unwanted kittens and feral cat numbers
  • protect our native wildlife
  • prevent nuisance behaviour such as spraying, defecating in neighbouring properties and fighting.

Lost your cat?

If your cat goes missing, it is important to act quickly and contact:

  • the City Pound on 07 5581 7600
  • local vets, RSPCA, Animal Welfare League
  • your neighbours.

City of Gold Coast’s lost and found service helps minimise the risk to our pets and any adverse impact on the community and the environment, by keeping lost animals off the streets.

If a cat can be identified by a microchip or ID tag, we can contact the owner immediately. If the owner is unable to be contacted, the cat will be taken to the nearest pound.

Identified cats will be held for a period of five working days. Unidentified cats are held for a period of three working days.

If the cat's owner has not been located at the end of these periods, the cat may be re-homed by the Animal Welfare League.

Cat owners' guide

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