Darwin council has voted to only allow cats out on streets on a leash.
Darwin council has voted to only allow cats out on streets on a leash.

Leash your cats: Aussie council to pet owners

FELINES roaming Darwin will now have to be leashed or securely contained when outside of their property, thanks to council's updated cat containment policy.

The policy, initially created for the developing Muirhead and Muirhead North suburbs, hopes to streamline the way all pets are managed while also protecting wildlife from cats.

Cats, along with other pets which are captured by rangers and are not contained on a leash or in a carrier cage will be impounded and owners must pay impounding fees in order for them to be released.

If animals have been left impounded for four days, it is up to council as to whether an animal will be "destructed" or rehomed.

The council voted to amend its Animal Management Policy which requires domestic cats be contained to the property boundaries of their usual home at all times, unless under effective control (on a lead).

Cat Association of the NT registrar Sandi Gemmell said leashing her cat had proved to be a practical solution but wasn't sure if others would follow suit.

"I don't use it all that often, if I am at a cat show I use a harness and people can pat him, he will walk around looking at things and it is a way of controlling him," she said.

"I think there's going to be a lot of people that ignore the requirement, probably those that want to keep their cat safe are already keeping them confined, not letting them roam around. Those that let them roam will continue to let them roam until they get caught."

Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis said the policy would help protect native wildlife from the pets, which he conceded were natural killers.

"I like cats but I also recognise the damage they can do to the fauna in our area and we've seen examples of cats decimating wildlife," he said.

"It is a responsible owner's responsibility to keep their cat contained so we're not going to finish with a lot of cat s in an area and no wildlife."

The changes will see the cat containment policy brought under the animal management policy as a whole.