Every suburb across the ACT will become Cat Containment zones under new rules set to come into effect next year.

Under the rules, cats are only allowed to roam within their owner’s property with a change to the current requirements to allow an owner to walk their cat on a lead or harness.

City Services Minister, Chris Steel said the changes will only apply to new cats obtained after the 1 July 2022.

“Because we understand that existing cats and their owners may not be prepared or used to containment, the grandfathering approach strikes the right balance and allows a fair and gradual transition.”

The new rules are part of a raft of reform the ACT Government plans to introduce over the next 10 years, in what’s been dubbed ‘The ACT Cat Plan’.

Also included in the plan is the introduction of annual cat registrations, brining the rules for pet registration in line to laws that passed earlier this year, requiring the same thing from dog owners.

“The measures outlined in the ACT Cat Plan will promote practices that help keep cats safe from accidents and illness, they will also improve our ability to reunite lost cats with their families more quickly through new registration requirements.”  Mr Steel said.


ACT Environment Minister, Rebecca Vassarotti, said the plan will also make a big contribution to reducing harmful hunting of Canberra’s native birds and animals.

“While cats are a popular pet in Canberra and a valuable companion animal in many households, they are also predators that have natural hunting and chasing instincts.”

“Every year, free-roaming but owned Canberra cats are estimated to prey on 61,000 native birds, 2,000 native mammals, 30,000 native reptiles and 6,000 native frogs.”

Consultation on the ACT Cat Plan is open now on the Your Say website.