How Many Cats Should You Be Allowed To Own?

How Many Cats Should You Be Allowed To Own?

An Adelaide council is seeking to introduce a new law to limit the number of cats residents are allowed to keep. The new bylaw will only allow two cats per household which must be desexed and microchipped. In addition, new fines will apply for owners of “nuisance cats.” Do you think this a sensible law or an affront to civilians’ rights? Discuss…

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“At its Tuesday meeting, [Burnside] council voted to adopt a cat bylaw which would limit the number of felines in any household in the eastern Adelaide municipality to two,” reports Adelaide Now. “Councillors voted 10 to 2 in favour of the new law.”

The new bylaw will require ratification by the State Government and a period of public consultation before it comes into effect. In the event that it passes, a permit system would be introduced for people who wanted to keep three or more cats. We wonder what professional breeders make of all this?

We’re curious to hear what our readers think. Should Australians be limited to a set number of pet cats, or should it be judged on a case-by-case basis? Is two more than enough for everyone or should the law max out at three-to-five? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

[Adelaide Now]


  • Why not, Dog owners are already limited in many areas to two animals anyway. why shouldn’t cat owners be restricted as well.

    Greater fines should be introduced for cat owners who allow their cats to go feral as well. or allow their cat to roam with out a bell attached to their collars.

  • i wish they had introduced this law in Melbourne years ago, would mean that my girlfriend would have only had 2 cats….

  • Case by case, for sure. I know people with four cats and they look after them really well. As long as you have a proven track record with animals, then yes you should be allowed to have as many as you’re capable of looking after.

    So perhaps set the limit at 2-3, then on a case-by-case after that number

    • Isn’t it like that for dogs too? 2 max, but if you want more then you apply for a license and it is evaluated based upon your house, proper housing and so on.
      That seems perfectly fair, for both cats and dogs.

  • What about the people who already own more than 2 cats? What do they do with the ‘extra’ cats? I own 4 cats, all desexed and microchipped and vaccinated and all are kept inside. I made an outside cat run for them do they can get some sun if they wish to.

    • “In the event that it passes, a permit system would be introduced for people who wanted to keep three or more cats.”

      • Chris, you know these things aren’t always fair. Remember the case a couple of years back where a woman had to choose one of her elderly dogs to give away because the council wouldn’t let her keep it? All were quiet, well-behaved and well looked after.

        • I’m not saying it’s fair: was just pointing out that there will be a procedure in place for people who want to keep more than two cats.

          • Ha, yeah, but you did it by re-quoting yourself, which usually equates to “read more carefully, jerkface” 😉 Despite having read the article, Sharlene may have valid concerns, and where else to voice them but in our friendly neighbourhood lifehacker comment thread?

  • None! Unless you have a proper cat enclosure. More bloody dead parrot feathers down the paddock today. Fucking cats from next door go hunting every morning. Cats should ultimately be removed from the country.

    • Under Australian law if someones pet is damaging your property (the definition of property is not strictly defined but I consider shitting on my lawn damaging my lawn) you can shoot it. this also brings up issues of using a firearm in a residential area tho, so use a bow. under Australian law for hitting it with a bow for not to be classed as animal cruelty the bow needs to be at least 35 pounds with a minimum head weight of… a number I forget but any arrow head you buy from the shop will be above that. happy hunting.

      • Under Australian law if someones pet is damaging your property (the definition of property is not strictly defined but I consider shitting on my lawn damaging my lawn) you can shoot it.

        This is absolutely incorrect in all but very limited circumstances. Where on Earth did you get this idea from?

  • Cats should be allowed only in completely fenced in areas so that they don’t spend the night killing birds and small native animals. A recent study showed that the remains of 32 different small animals, birds, lizards etc have been found in contents of one feral cat’s stomach. Feral cats are just domestic cats gone wild.
    If I had my way there would be no cats in Australia. I like native birds around my house.

      • 75 million a night? lol. Seems like an absurdly high figure equivalent to cats killing the entire human population of Australia nearly 4 times over, every night, and also a completely unjustifiable and unprovable number. Humans couldn’t even COUNT 75 million things in a single night, let alone like.. Even assuming a lot of these are bugs.. There’s no remains at all..

        • Other reports I read said there were 8 million feral cats in Australia, killing up to 30 native species (small lizards etc) a day.
          Humans introduced the cats and mismanaged them to cause the problem, so I guess were to blame for all of that.

  • Interestingly everyone seems so concerned about cats hunting other fauna, but what about the dog attacks on children?

      • Exactly, not a close comparison as he is talking about humans which matter and the others are talking about wildlife which don’t.

          • Haha…. Timmahh is the only one who has valid arguments.

            You appear not to like humans or cats but you love wildlife….. are you a possum?

          • So as you said, humans matter and wildlife doesn’t, but humans are responsible for more wildlife death and loss of habitat than any other species. There’s no point in being churlish about it either. You obviously don’t care about the survival of wildlife…

          • That’s not the point of the original comment. Put it this way, if somebody had taken your kid hostage and gave you the choice of them killing your kid or killing 1 million native birds, I’m pretty sure you’d choose the birds.

      • This is true but after working with various parks services I can tell you dogs are also a major threat to wildlife.

          • True but people kill many times more and they destroy more endangered species too

            Fixed that for you.

            I don’t have a problem with limiting animal ownership, but I think we should take a look at our own species when we talk about another. Last time I checked these cats didn’t just get here by themselves.

          • We’re the top of the food chain, we earned that right from evolving after millions of years of being eaten by bigger things. cats on the other hand are only in the position their in because of human error. we need to make it legal to hunt feral cats with no hunting permits, would make my weekends more fun. stupid laws by stupid people are the reason we have all these feral animals running loose.

      • Sorry but I don’t agree. Cats attacking wildlife is the result of them having bad owners – owners that let them roam freely with no wildlife-warning devices (e.g. a collar with a bell). I have two cats, both stay strictly indoors except for a verandah enclosed with netting. Neither of them have ever killed anything bigger than a spider or the occasional gecko.

        When left to roam freely, dogs will also kill and eat other animals. The difference is that free-roaming dogs are generally not allowed whereas free-roaming cats seem to be a common thing.

        • heh you make a good point that a bell collar is probably very effective at preventing most of this.

          • Yeah, but then you have to listen to the friggin thing ting, ting, tinkling all over the bloody place…1 🙂

        • > free-roaming dogs are generally not allowed whereas free-roaming cats
          > seem to be a common thing.

          It’s a heck of a lot easier to keep a dog within an enclosed area than a cat. They get an extra dimension to move around in.

          I get the point about feral cats that many make but I notice the proposal is two cats per household. Seems a little unfair to discriminate on the number of pets you keep on the basis of whether you live with somebody else.

          The point about belling cats is well made, although I have seen a belled cat come home with a dead bird. 🙁

  • How Many Cats Should You Be Allowed To Own?None…!
    However people do like to keep them, I have in the past, so I’d say if necessary one cat and one dog or just one dog, or cat only…!

  • I’m not keen on a blanket quantity law, what everywher evidence do they have that two cats is better than one, or three? I’d rather see laws that punish cat owners who let their animals attack wildlife or don’t get them fixed. That’s just as practical to enforce and targets the issue without ostracising responsible pet owners.

  • Exactly zero.
    You can tell me dogs are just as bad all you like, but if you have a dog in your backyard behind a closed gate and you keep your fences in reasonable condition, it wont escape.

    If you put a cat in that same backyard, like a lot of cat owners would, it will go out hunting native wildlife.

  • You know what would be great? If they let us just keep Australian Native animals as pets? There’d be a lot less endangered species, they’d be better protected from alien invaders like cats and foxes and… this is the best part… They can never go feral! Bring me a potoroo!

  • Put collars with bells on humans and keep them indoors at all times. Limit them to 2 per house, and feed them once a day. And if they behave themselves, let them live!

    It isn’t the cats who are causing the harm to the environment, it’s the humans.

  • Stuff the few who govern the many. Lets see you conform to an obligation to seek the consent of every citizen with regard to every act of government, law, constitution, sovereign. Thats how you dont get to take my equal share and sell it for personal gain.

  • I’ve always said – one cat is a pet, two cats are a hobby, three cats are vermin.

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