The Australian Pet Welfare Foundation (APWF) strongly encourages inside containment of cats at night, and where possible, contained to the owner’s property during the day in a comfortable environment which meets the cat’s physical and mental needs.
However, the APWF is strongly opposed to mandated cat containment (night curfews and 24/7) because it leads to increased cat nuisance complaints, increased cat impoundments, increased cat and kitten euthanasia, increased costs and enforcement difficulties for local governments, increased mental health damage to veterinary staff and community residents caused by euthanasing healthy cats and kittens and no reduction in the overall number of wandering cats.
Mandated Cat Containment is Ineffective
Mandated cat containment has been proven to be an ineffective strategy; a failure at reducing wandering cats in the short and long term, both in Australia and internationally. Mandated cat containment is not an effective strategy to reduce wandering cats because most wandering cats are strays with no owner to contain them. Even for cats with an owner, containment is often not achievable due to factors such as housing limitations, lack of financial resources and concerns about the welfare of confined cats.
Mandated cat containment actively prevents the resolution of the problem of wandering cats because it presents a huge barrier to cat semi-owners taking full ownership of the stray cat they are feeding.
What is Effective
A more effective approach is to help people with the desexing and microchipping of their semi-owned cat, and supporting them to take full ownership. This is achieved through Community Cat Programs, i.e., high-intensity free desexing programs targeted at areas of high impoundments or complaints.
By significantly reducing the number of unwanted kittens born, such programs, not mandated curfews, are the key solution to the problem of wandering cats and the associated issues such as nuisance complaints, costs to local governments and potential wildlife predation.
To read evidence that supports this position statement, click this button
For information about best practices for cat confinement, click this button
Bedtime feeding of cats is recommended as a highly effective way to assist cat owners at minimal to no additional cost to keep owned pet cats safely inside at night and prevent potential wildlife predation. This feeding involves feeding cats inside at bedtime and ensuring all doors and windows are shut for the night, providing owners with a way to safely confine their cat in the house/dwelling overnight. Read more about this by clicking this button.