Cat Management

People respond to cats in different ways and they can be many things to different people: much-loved pets valued for enjoyment and companionship; useful animals that control rats and other vermin; nuisance animals that annoy neighbours; and feral pests that spread disease and impact on native wildlife and agriculture. The polarised views in the community about cats make their management a challenging and often emotive issue.

Amendments to the Cat Management Act 2009

Amendments to the Cat Management Act 2009 change the way cats are cared for and managed in Tasmania. Some of the changes commenced on 1 March 2021 and the remaining changes on 1 March 2022.

Amendments commenced 1 March 2021

Reclaiming cats from cat management​​​ fa​cilities (section 24)

A cat that is being cared for at a cat management facility must be microchipped and desexed before being reclaimed from the facility.

Exemptions to microchipping apply where a vet certifies microchipping may adversely affect the health and welfare of the cat; exemptions to de-sexing apply to cats owned by registered breeders for the purpose of breeding or where a vet  certifies de-sexing may adversely affect the health and welfare of the cat.

The costs of microchipping, desexing and care of the cat at the facility are the responsibility of the owner of the cat.

Protection of private land from​​ stray and roaming cats (section 17)

A person is permitted to humanely trap a cat on their private property provided the trap is checked at least once within every 24-hour period after the trap is first set.

Within 24 hours of a cat being trapped, the cat must either be:

  • ​returned to its owner
  • taken to a cat management facility
  • taken to a nominee of a cat management facility

Bef​​ore setting a trap, a person should first contact a cat management facility to understand the facility’s processes for accepting a cat, its operating hours, and any associated fees. You should not take a cat to a cat management facility without contacting the facility first.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 1993, a person who sets a trap is responsible for the care and welfare of any animal that is caught in the trap and has a duty to take all reasonable measures to protect the welfare of the animal.

Please read the TassieCat Guideline for the rules and processes related to trapping a cat.

Please note: all cat management activities must be conducted in accordance with the Cat Management Act 2009​ and the Animal Welfare Act 1993. Penalties apply for inhumane activities and other breaches of these Acts.

Humane destruction of cats (section 17A)

A person managing primary production land’ or occupier of ‘production premises’ is permitted to humanely destroy a cat on ‘primary production land’ or at ‘production premises’.

Persons undertaking lethal cat management action would need to comply with other relevant legislation, such as the Animal Welfare Act 1993 and the Firearms Act 1996

Ammendments commenced ​1 March 2022

Compulsory microchipping and dese​xing of cats

All cats over the age of four months must be microchipped and desexed, unless a vet certifies that it would adversely affect the health or welfare of the cat.

For more on microchipping and desexing of cats see: Desexing and Microchipping.

Keeping more th​​an​​ four cats

A person must not keep more than four cats over the age of four months on their property without a permit.

A person wishing to keep more than four cats on a property must apply for a multiple cat permit.

For more information on keeping more than four cats and to apply for a multiple cat permit see: Multiple Cat Permits.

Changes to b​​​re​​eder registration

The State Government is no longer registering cat breeders. Anyone wishing to breed a cat in Tasmania will be required to be a member of a cat organisation or must apply for a conditional permit to breed a cat.

For more information on breeder registration see Breeding, Selling and Buying Cats.

The option of a care agreemen​t on the sale of a cat will be rem​​oved

A person selling a cat no longer has the option to enter into a care agreement on the sale of the cat.

Any cat that is to be sold or given away must be at least eight weeks old, desexed and microchipped, wormed and vaccinated prior to sale. In addition, written evidence of the results of a general health check must be provided by a veterinary surgeon.

Exemptions to microchipping apply where a vet certifies microchipping may adversely affect the health and welfare of the cat; exemptions to desexing apply if the purchaser is a registered breeder; or where a vet certifies desexing may adversely affect the health and welfare of the cat; or the purchaser is the holder of a cat breeding permit in relation to the cat.

For more information on care agreements see Breeding, Selling and Buying Cats​.

Tasmanian Cat Management Plan

The State Government’s Tasmanian Cat Management Plan 2017-2022  guides the implementation of various actions at all levels of Government and all sectors of the community to improve cat management in Tasmania.

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Responsible Cat Ownership

Tasmanian legislation now requires that cats must be:

  • Microchipped (once over 4 months)
  • Desexed (unless owned by a registered breeder for breeding)

Microchipping ensures that if your cat does get lost and ends up at a vet it can be returned to you.  Collars are another handy way of doing this but can be lost or cats may escape when they are not fitted.

Desexing your cat has a number of advantages including:

  • preventing unwanted litters
  • increasing life expectancy
  • improving temperament and health
  • reducing the risk of certain cancers
  • reducing spraying, fighting and yowling
  • reducing the desire to roam

It is also worth considering containing your cat to your house with access to an outdoor enclosure (catio).  This has many benefits including:

  • you get to spend more quality time with your cat
  • your cat won’t be injured on the road
  • your cat won’t get into fights with other cats, or be attacked by a dog,
  • your cat won’t hunt native wildlife
  • your cat won’t annoy neighbours
  • less risk of disease and contracting fleas, lice and worms
  • lower vet’s fees

It does take a bit of effort to make your house and outdoor enclosure suitably entertaining for your cat but it needn’t cost a lot.

The following brochure has great information on what you can do:

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Factsheets

For more information on how to care for your cat and cat owners’ responsibilities please have a look at the following factsheets:

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1.2 MiB
974.8 KiB
4.4 MiB
2.3 MiB

Tasmanian Cat Legislation

Links to Tasmanian cat management legislation are provided below.

Cat Management Act 2009
Cat Management Regulations 2012

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