Cats in the neighbourhood


Cats can wander onto neighbouring properties and may cause a nuisance to others.

There are no laws restricting cats, but if a complaint is made about your cat you will need to make sure that it’s confined to your property.

Cats on your property

If your neighbour’s cat affects you we encourage you to talk to the owner about the problem first and work with them to find a solution.

If your cat is straying

Cat owners have a responsibility to ensure that their cat does not become a nuisance to their neighbours.

Encourage your cat to stay on your property by:

  • providing a well turned mulched area for use as an outside toilet
  • providing an enclosed cat run
  • adapting your fencing to discourage your cat from leaving your property.
  • confine your cat to an enclosure or indoors in your property; this not only protects wildlife, but also may protect your cat from injury and disease, or ever become lost
  • desexing your cat to help make them less territorial and less likely to wander.

You can also keep your cat indoors from sunset to sunrise.

If your neighbour’s cat is straying

People may not be aware that their cat is straying or cause a problem. If your neighbour’s cat affects you we encourage talking to the owner about the problem and work with them to find a solution.

Cat deterrents

There are things you can do to discourage cats from straying on to your property.

Try gently squirting the cat on its body (not the face) with a hose. Cats don't like water and if squirted a few times they may decide not to come back.

Where the cat likes to lie down or dig:

  • keep the area wet - cats generally don't like to have wet, muddy feet
  • place citrus peel, sprigs of rue (herb), naphthalene flakes, sprinkle pepper on the ground, or citronella oil - cats do not like the smell of these
  • use a cat repellent spray or gel (available from plant nurseries or vets)
  • plant cacti or other prickly plants in your garden
  • spread Vaseline on the fence posts and post tops - this will make the posts slippery and the cats will not be able to grip on the greasy surface
  • attach an old CD onto string with knots keeping them apart; the reflecting light with assist in deterring cats
  • clean away rubbish, brush and other clutter that can harbour mice, rats and other small prey that cats love to peruse
  • ensure that all access places for cats are boarded up; this includes all holes that would allow access to sheds, garages, or under decks and porches, as stray cats and their prey may take up refuge in these places.

Not all these methods will work for every cat. Try one for at about two weeks to see if it works. If it doesn’t work try another method.

Cleaning the smell

Use warm soapy water to clean away cat urine and to mask the smell. Do not use disinfectants that contain ammonia as they attract cats.


Trapping a cat is the last resort and only cats which have no identification on a property you own can be trapped. You are not allowed to enter another property unlawfully in order to trap a cat.

We offer a cat cage hire service to assist with cat trapping. For more information contact our Customer Service Centre.

Identified cats

If you trap a cat that can be identified you must release it immediately in the area where it was trapped. When you let it go, squirt it with water to discourage its return.

It is illegal to remove or interfere with the identification on a cat.

Identification includes wearing a collar with an address or telephone number on it, or a cat that has the letter 'M' tattooed inside one of its ears which indicates that it is microchipped.

Unidentified cats

Cats that are trapped that cannot be identified must be taken to a vet or animal shelter, such as the Animal Welfare League, within 12 hours of being trapped. Some vets will accept stray cats for a fee - please contact them before attending.

How can I help

You can help by not feeding a cat that does not belong to you. Feeding a cat that is not yours is not caring for it. Feeding cats can contribute to the wider problem and also encourage the cat to breed. It also encourages the cat to return to that location, which can lead to creating a nuisance for yourself and your neighbours.