A proposed new law could see cat owners fined if their pets are found walking around outdoors.
The motion was put forward to Randwick City Council in Sydney’s upmarket eastern suburbs, in a bid to protect native wildlife.
The law would force felines to stay indoors, particularly after dark, and apply fines for cats that ‘run free or defecate in public places’.
In addition to the outdoor ban, Mayor Kathy Neilson also wants to raise registration fees for cat owners.
Liberal councillor Harry Stavrinos slammed the motion as ‘archaic and laughable’.
‘It’s very unfair to be targeting the owners of cats,’ he told the Southern Courier.
‘It’s just outrageous. It [Council] will not be able to be police these archaic and laughable laws and it will be a huge waste of time.
‘We’ve got more serious things to do and it can’t be the cat police and send people out to watch cats defecating on lawns.’
Ben Campbell, who owns a cat in the nearby suburb of Kingsford, acknowledged that while there was a problem with cats disturbing wildlife in Randwick, this wasn’t the solution to the problem.
‘I’d say the vast majority of cat owners are animal lovers and the last thing they want to see is native animals being harmed, that’s why we put a bell on them.’
Mr Campbell also said that the motion is putting blame on cat owners, and that this problem was most likely due to the feral cats that freely roam the streets.
The controversial plan has been backed by Greens councillor Philipa Veitch, who hailed the proposed law as ‘tremendous’, citing the decline in birds due to domestic cats killing them.
Mr Stavrinos said the proposed registration fee hike was a further kick in the teeth for cat owners, particularly for those struggling to make ends meet.
He said that many residents in the area live on fixed incomes, including the elderly and people with disabilities, and that bringing in the motion would be a blow to people who turn to cats for company and love.
Roaming domestic cats kill around 60 million birds per year.
In a bid to stop this, many Australian towns have begun to roll out ‘cat curfews’, which put a limit on the animals’ outside activities.
Canberra created 12 ‘cat containment’ suburbs, where owners who let their cats outdoors are fined up to $1,500.