By Nick Sinis

BASS Coast Shire is gearing up for its phased rollout of 24/7 cat containment, but one resident has described the measure as “overkill”.

The introduction of cat containment was announced through the shire’s Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) 2021-25.

Council defines cat containment as, “keeping a cat contained to a property and/or under its owner’s control, in the same way that dogs are”.

According to the DAMP, throughout 2022-24, council will develop a communication and education campaign to explain the benefits of cat containment.

The DAMP also states that cat owners, including the broader community, will be directly contacted to inform them on any regulatory changes.

While a cat containment ‘working group’ will be established.

“We are currently planning for the phased introduction of cat containment in our shire and a large-scale community education program will be carried out to support its implementation,” council’s CEO Ali Wastie said.

“This is expected to begin in July this year, and will involve working closely with the community, sharing and providing information, and facilitating and exploring opportunities to support easier access to cat enclosures. This process is expected to take at least 12 months,” she said.

“Having your pets registered and microchipped gives a higher chance of your four-legged friends being returned to you, if they end up in an animal shelter or vet clinic.”

For information on how to register your pet, visit basscoast.vic.gov.au/pets.

San Remo resident Felicity Hillier said the measure was “overkill” and there were other strategies that could support responsible cat ownership.

“There’s not really a good amount of education for cat owners leaving their cats inside at night between sunrise and sunset,” she said.

“They can be outside but once the sun is going down, they should be inside because the problem with native animals, birds, etc, is that cats have an advantage at night-time.

“But if they’re kept inside at night-time, every night, then it becomes a habit and routine.”

Ms Hillier, who has always owned cats and currently has two, said she’s never had an issue with her felines killing native animals.

“The problem is that there are feral cats, but there’s also unsupervised dogs; a lot of people don’t lock their dogs up to the extent that they should,” she said.

“I would be able to support a curfew, but 24/7?”

Ms Hillier also highlighted that purchasing cat cages can cost thousands of dollars and are impractical for smaller homes or units.

For more information on the DAMP, visit bit.ly/3rb3ao4.