We’ve all heard of curfews for kids, whether it’s because they’ve been naughty or for their general safety.
But have you ever heard of a curfew for cats, because that would seem just a little bit ridiculous. How would you ever go about enforcing it?
One council in Australia seems to have missed this slight detail though, because they’ve introduced a cat curfew in the hope they’ll be able to crack down on the ‘nuisance behaviour’ of the animals.
Residents of Mount Barker near Adelaide will now face penalties if their cats are found roaming the streets at night after the local council passed the new regulations, The Guardian reports.
The new by-laws will limit the number of felines per property to two, as well as introduce a curfew of between 8pm and 7am. Owners of cats caught outside during these hours will face penalties, and might also have to undergo covert surveillance if their cat is a suspected nuisance.
Mayor Ann Ferguson said the crackdown was a result of an ‘outcry’ from the community about the behaviour of local cats, after the animals were caught defecating on people’s properties, fighting in the garden, and killing wildlife.
The mayor explained:
We had a lengthy consultation over a month and received over 500 responses, so it was obvious that people are quite passionate about cats roaming the streets.
Ferguson said 73 per cent of people supported the council addressing the behaviour of cats, with 71 per cent supporting a curfew and 68 per cent supporting the limit of two cats per property.
She also made clear that – as a ‘cat lover’ herself – the new rules are not aimed at vilifying the animal, adding: ‘There are more people out there who love cats and tolerate cats [than hate them]’.
The mayor said they were ‘still working through the details’ of what the penalties will be for owners whose cats break the curfew rules – although the council is considering conducting covert surveillance on cats suspected to be breaking curfew.
Mount Barker is not the only town in Australia to introduce tough new regulations; as per The Guardian, the council in Gawler has proposed by-laws which will give them the power to ‘seize, detain and destroy’ any cat caught roaming within its boundaries if the animal isn’t claimed by its owner within three days.
All of these regulations are part of the crackdown on feral cats in Australia; as per PETA, it’s estimated that feral cats kill 75 million native animals every night across Australia – including birds, frogs, small mammals, and reptiles.
It isn’t just feral cats that contribute to this problem though; cats with owners who are allowed to roam around urban areas also have hunting instincts – no matter how well fed they are – and will kill prey.
It is hoped these new curfews, as well as tackling nuisance behaviour, will play a part in reducing stray populations of cats by preventing unspayed cats mating without their owners being aware of their whereabouts.
Adelaide Hills, Marion, and Campbelltown have also introduced measures to limit cats’ activities.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).