top of page
  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

Cat curfews could be a thing


Wildlife advocates are calling on governments to enact 24/7 cat curfews after 323 million native Australian animals were killed in the past year.



More than 300 million native animals are killed by cats in Australia each year as owners continue to allow their pets to roam free.


The number of deaths represents a 34 per cent rise since the pandemic pet boom.

Wildlife advocates are calling on owners to take greater responsibility for their cats to curb the losses.


Almost three in four allow them to freely roam, with more than half a billion mostly native animals preyed upon each year, according to research by the Biodiversity Council, Invasive Species Council and Birdlife Australia.


Darwin University Professor and ecologist Sarah Legge Charles said 323 million of Australia's native animals were killed by domestic cats in the past year, up from 241 million in 2020.


Researchers from universities across the country found each roaming, hunting pet cat kills more than three animals a week and 186 animals per year.


Studies of pet cats using video-tracking collars or scat analysis found 85 per cent of the animals killed by them are never brought home, giving owners the false impression their cats don't hunt wildlife.


"The jump in wildlife kills reflects the pandemic pet boom that saw pet cat numbers reach 5.3 million," Prof Legge Charles said.


One in three Australian households own pet cats and about half of them have two or more.


The Biodiversity Council spokeswoman said the numbers are an alarm bell for governments to enact responsible pet ownership laws, including 24/7 cat curfews.

Invasive Species Council conservation officer Candice Bartlett described the situation in NSW as archaic and drew comparisons to the ACT, where residents are required to contain their cats, and Victoria, where nearly 50 per cent of councils have containment laws.


"Local governments cannot implement basic cat curfew laws due to barriers in the state legislation," she said.


The NSW government could save 66 million native animals every year in Greater Sydney alone by legislating 24/7 cat curfews and boosting funding for responsible pet ownership initiatives like subsidised desexing and a state-wide education campaign, she said.


Cats have played a leading role in most of Australia's 34 mammal extinctions since 1788 and are central to the ongoing decline of more than 200 threatened native species.



More than 300 million native animals are killed by cats in Australia each year as owners continue to allow their pets to roam free.


The number of deaths represents a 34 per cent rise since the pandemic pet boom.

Wildlife advocates are calling on owners to take greater responsibility for their cats to curb the losses.


Almost three in four allow them to freely roam, with more than half a billion mostly native animals preyed upon each year, according to research by the Biodiversity Council, Invasive Species Council and Birdlife Australia.


Darwin University Professor and ecologist Sarah Legge Charles said 323 million of Australia's native animals were killed by domestic cats in the past year, up from 241 million in 2020.


Researchers from universities across the country found each roaming, hunting pet cat kills more than three animals a week and 186 animals per year.


Studies of pet cats using video-tracking collars or scat analysis found 85 per cent of the animals killed by them are never brought home, giving owners the false impression their cats don't hunt wildlife.


"The jump in wildlife kills reflects the pandemic pet boom that saw pet cat numbers reach 5.3 million," Prof Legge Charles said.


One in three Australian households own pet cats and about half of them have two or more.


The Biodiversity Council spokeswoman said the numbers are an alarm bell for governments to enact responsible pet ownership laws, including 24/7 cat curfews.


Invasive Species Council conservation officer Candice Bartlett described the situation in NSW as archaic and drew comparisons to the ACT, where residents are required to contain their cats, and Victoria, where nearly 50 per cent of councils have containment laws.


"Local governments cannot implement basic cat curfew laws due to barriers in the state legislation," she said.


The NSW government could save 66 million native animals every year in Greater Sydney alone by legislating 24/7 cat curfews and boosting funding for responsible pet ownership initiatives like subsidised desexing and a state-wide education campaign, she said.


Cats have played a leading role in most of Australia's 34 mammal extinctions since 1788 and are central to the ongoing decline of more than 200 threatened native species.


bottom of page