Responsible cat ownership means providing adequate food, grooming and shelter for your cat and ensuring they are well cared for.

Cats are domesticated animals that can happily live indoors for their whole life. In fact, research shows cats that stay indoors live longer, healthier lives.

Microchipping & registration

The NSW Pet Registry is a database of microchipped and registered cats and dogs that live in NSW. This is the official database in NSW for registering your animal in accordance with the Companion Animals Act 1998. Microchipping your pet and keeping the details up to date is the most effective way to help ensure your pet can be returned to you if it becomes lost.

All cats and dogs must be microchipped by 12 weeks and registered by 6 months of age. The registration fee is a once-only payment, which covers the cat or dog for its lifetime. Owners of cats not desexed by 4 months of age must pay an annual permit in addition to their one-off lifetime pet registration fee. For information on how to register your dog or cat, please see our Animal Registration page.

Roaming cats

If you prefer to let your cat roam free, remember it must be microchipped and registered. We recommend that cats allowed to roam freely wear a collar and tag. Consider keeping free-roaming cats indoors at night.

There are very good reasons to keep your cat inside at night:

  • All cats hunt, regardless of how well fed they are. Cats usually hunt at night
  • Most cat fights occur at night
  • Most vehicle accidents involving cats occur at night
  • Cats can cause considerable damage to the environment if allowed to wander
  • Cats who roam are at risk of unwanted pregnancies

It is especially important to desex free-roaming cats. Owners of cats not desexed by 4 months of age must pay an annual permit in addition to their one-off lifetime pet registration fee.

Council does not have regulatory powers to restrict roaming cats, unless clear evidence is available that shows that noise from the cat is causing a nuisance or the cat is damaging a neighbours property or wildlife.

There is no law that prevents cats from roaming. Contact Council if you experience difficulties with a roaming cat.

Prohibited areas for cats

Cats are prohibited in the following places;

  • Food preparation and consumption areas
  • Wildlife protections areas

Lost cats

Report your missing cat to Council within 72 hours.

  • Check local vets and pounds. Councils pound is Sydney Dogs and Cats home
  • Ask around the neighbourhood and check with your neighbours
  • Put a post up on your local community Facebook page

Notify Council within 14 days if any change occurs in your cat’s details e.g. you change your address, you change your contact details or you sell or give the animal away. You can update the details online on the NSW Pet Registry directly or by completing the Change of Owner Details form or Change of Address Notice and submitting it to

What to do if you find a cat

There are limited circumstances for cats to be impounded or seized. When you come across a friendly & healthy cat, think twice about picking it up, as cats are allowed to roam. It is important to be aware of the laws that determine when you are legally allowed to remove or seize a cat. If you are concerned about a cat’s welfare:

  • Check for identification/registration tag and contact the owner
  • Ask around the neighbourhood to see if anyone has lost their cat
  • Call Council for advice
  • Call the RSPCA or Animal Welfare League to report concerns.

If you can't find the owner, you are required by law to release the cat - failure to do so can incur a $550 fine.