Down Under Cat Curfews

Corralling Cats

An entire continent is heading towards a curfew for cats and the fur is flying because of it.

More and more communities throughout Australia are imposing new laws to keep domesticated felines inside their homes, or at least their properties in an attempt to save the nation’s unique indigenous wildlife.

We’re not talking about threats to kangaroos, dingos or bar blottos inhabiting the country’s pubs. The worry is about the commonwealth’s animals like birds, bilbies and numbats; the latter sounding like it hangs out in bars too, but doesn’t.

Cats, both feral and domestic, are causing more than a billion wildlife deaths each year in the land Down Under.

Australian cat with three of its favorite things; bilby, Fosters and Vegemite. The emu is just photobombing.

Some communities like Adelaide have imposed an 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew for cats to stay in their owner’s yards while Knox, outside of Melbourne was more draconian, passing a 24-hour-a-day law for cats to remain indoors.

Cat owners and their pets are upset with the growing list of communities placing some type of curfew laws into effect.

Speaking on behalf of his cat, Willow, Braden Anderson told The Wall Street Journal, “She sits at the door, and she is clearly annoyed. She’s been meowing at us to let her outside.”

Kelly Keen supports the new rules in her town that has a 24-hour cat curfew. But not long after acquiring her pet, Louie, she noticed that home confinement was not his cup of tea.

“He was getting like a lion in a cage, just pacing around the perimeter,” Keen told the WSJ.

Penalties for violating these laws can range from an initial warning to fines of $1,600. In Bendigo, about 80 miles north of Melbourne, the punishment may be less financially, $120, but your cat will be confiscated and placed in a shelter until you pay up.

A lot of money and effort goes into keeping Fluffy in the yard. Courtesy: Bow Wow Meow.

While the laws are directed at cats, it’s the humans who have to go through hoops to comply with the regulations.

Keen for example, tried to secure netting over her large yard to keep Louie contained but eventually had to pay for a professional installation. For those who don’t have an all-day curfew, owners are trying to get their cats to take walks in a harness and leash. If you’ve tried this, your cat has most likely not cooperated.

Nicholas Brbot, co-founder of Cat Harness Australia told the WSJ that you can tell when your feline has passed the harness test by observing the “happy tail”. A straight up tail signifies your pet is confident and comfortable.

That’s nice, but what if your cat isn’t buying the harness and leash thing?

Australian cat owner: G’day my little ballarat, I know how much you enjoy the outdoors. But there’s a lot of concern recently about you and your mates going out in the bush and killing a few of our nation’s precious native species each night.

Cat: So?

Cat Harness Australia must have paid this feline a lot of kibble to act like he enjoys being in a harness. Courtesy: Cat Harness Australia.

Cat owner: The local government has decided you’ll be confined to our ‘owse.

Cat: Bloody oath, I like coming home for a few winks and some barbie.

Cat owner: I don’t think you understand. You’re confined to the house all day and night. No more carousing with your bogans.

Cat: Fair dinkum? Shut my cake hole.

Cat owner: Bloody yes.

Cat: Crack the shits I say [claws now fully extended].

Cat owner: Crikey! How about I take you out for a walkabout in this bonza looking harness and leash?

Cat: {claws still out] Naur way galah. That sounds dodgy. How about I take you for a walkabout in a leather choke collar and chained leash. The neighbors will probably wonder if you’re also wearing budgie smugglers and a little lippie. Now that’s a conversation starter, especially with the sheilas.

Cat owner: Never mind.

Cat: No wucka’s [claws retracted]. But if I’m going to be stuck in this place, I’ll need plenty of frothies, ciggies and catnip, or else [claws extended].

Cat owner: Defo, my furry ol’ cobber.

Shouldn’t birds be in this cage and not cats? Courtesy:

Cat: Gucci, now piss off.

Cat curfews are not new. The Chester Chronicles previously reported on one German town imposing a kitty lockdown to save a rare bird species. But in Australia, the number of municipalities is growing to keep domestic fur balls in stir.

“On this and other anti-cat policies, Australia is a true outlier,” Coryn Julien, a spokesperson for cat advocacy group Alley Cat Allies, told the WSJ. “The idea of cats living indoors is a human invention, only made possible by the introduction of Kitty Litter about 70 years ago.”

By the way, cat litter is an American invention.

“I don’t believe in curfews, because you can’t treat cats like they were kittens without forfeiting a certain level of trust.”

Hall of Fame basketball coach Phil Jackson (sort of)

Our do-nothing cat, Chester, would have no issue with these Australian cat laws. That’s because he’s a house cat and only goes out on the back desk when the weather is nice. Still, he was sympathetic to the Aussie felines.

“Why is it that people always blame cats for being cats,” Chester asked. “You like us when we purr, chase our tails and curl up for naps, but kill a few creatures on the lower end of natural selection and we’re the mass murderers of the animal world.”

“We’ll, they’re concerned about their unique native species. They just want to protect them,” I said.

“Who brought cats to Australia,” Chester yelled. “People! We cats didn’t swim across the ocean or build a sailboat to float on over to that continent. Why aren’t we putting a curfew on all those former convicts?”

“Last I checked, humans are above cats in the animal kingdom pecking order,” I smugly retorted, failing to realize a cardinal mistake of trying to put cats in their place.

“I would sleep with one eye open if I were you,” Chester sneered.

These cats look more like zoo animals than the free spirits they are. Courtesy: Catio World.

After a long pause, I tentatively stepped back into the discussion.

“What’s wrong with cat curfews,” I asked.

“Because curfews victimize cats for just being themselves,” Chester explained. “Then you stigmatize us as being coercive to the community. So, we like to do a little hunting; do we put curfews on all the humans who hunt for fun?”

Before I could make my next point, Chester jumped in.

“And don’t tell me about the billions of animals we cats kill. You and I have gone over this before and you humans are doing a bang-up job on species extinctions.” These cat curfews are discriminatory!”

“You have a better idea,” I inquired.

“Besides leaving us cats alone except when it’s time to feed us or clean our litter boxes,” Chester began. “How about you make an effort to communicate with us and stop being condescending. I’m not talking kitty talk like ‘do you want your neck scratched’ type of thing.

Progressive city of Aurora, Colorado holds council meeting with cats on mutually beneficial solutions.

“How about we set up committees to work out our differences? You tell us what you’re not pleased with us cats and we will do the same for you. Of course, our list of grievances will be much longer than yours because we both know cats are as close to perfect as you can get. The one exception is our habit of chasing laser pointers. I still fall for that every time.”

“Sounds doable,” I agreed. “Anything else?”

“Sure, open up kitten centers to give the youngsters other outlets for their aggression that’s currently directed at your precious ‘unique native species’. Also create catnip clinics so we don’t have to lower ourselves to begging. That will cut down on our desire to go out and hunt. You can’t get enough nepetalactone, you know. That’s a win-win for all of us.”

“Wonderful ideas, Chester,” I said. “I’ll start with our town council to see what we can do to make this happen.”

My temperamental tabby was pleased but had one parting thing to say.

“Gucci, now piss off.”

3 thoughts on “Down Under Cat Curfews

  1. Thank you for sharing this fascinating post about the curfew for cats in Australia. It’s concerning to hear about the impact that feral and domestic cats are having on the nation’s unique indigenous wildlife, and it’s important for communities to take action to protect these species. However, it’s also understandable that cat owners and their pets may be upset by the new curfew laws. It’s a complex issue with no easy solution, but it’s important to continue the conversation and work towards a resolution that benefits both cats and wildlife.


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