In Australia, one in three cat owners keeps their feline pets contained on their own property. That rate is four times higher than in New Zealand, but some Australian councils say it’s still not enough to adequately protect native wildlife.

Attempts by some local authorities to require cat containment have been blocked by state governments, says Professor Sarah Legge, a wildlife ecologist at Australian National University.

“Local governments are taking this very seriously and doing their best but they found the whole issue really frustrating and one of the reasons they found it frustrating was that they weren’t supported by state government to get that job done,” she says.

“In fact, the state government legislation was often hampering what they were trying to do.”

James Trezise from the Invasive Species Council says state governments need to do more, but there also needs to be a “nationally harmonised” approach to cat containment.

“We’d like to see immediate changes to Western Australian law to enable local governments to implement cat containment,” he says.

“We’ve got 38 local governments in Victoria that either have 24/7 containment or some form of curfew and that’s to protect cats and and also protect native wildlife.”


Infographic: Foxes and cats kill more than 2.6 billion animals in Australia each year. Source: Stobo-Wilson et al/Diversity and Distributions