Dogs and Cats FAQs

1. Do I have to register my Dog or Cat?

All cats and dogs, other than exempt cats and dogs, must be registered by six months of age. The registration fee is a once-only payment, which covers the cat or dog for its lifetime in NSW, regardless of any changes in ownership. You are encouraged to have your cat or dog desexed before registering it.

Discounted registration fees apply to desexed cats or dogs. Having your cat or dog desexed prior to registration helps to reduce straying, fighting and aggression and antisocial behaviour, such as spraying to mark territory. It also helps to reduce the number of unwanted pets born each year.

Registration fees are used by councils for providing animal management related services to the community. These may include ranger services, pound facilities, dog refuse bins, educational and other companion animal-related activities.


2. When does my cat or dog have to be microchipped?

Since 1 July 1999 all dogs and cats in NSW must be microchipped at point of sale, change of ownership or by 12 weeks of age, whichever occurs first.


3. Does my farm working dog have to be registered?

A working dog is defined in the Companion Animals Act as a dog used primarily for the purpose of droving, tending, working or protecting stock, and includes a dog which is being trained as a working dog.

If the dog is ordinarily kept on land categorised as farmland for rating purposes it is exempt from microchipping and registration requirements.

For all other working dogs that do not meet the above exemption requirements, microchipping and lifetime registration is required, but no registration fee applies.

If you own a working dog that is exempt from microchipping and lifetime registration, you are encouraged to microchip and register your valuable animal. However, no registration fee applies.

Farm pets are NOT considered to be working dogs.

4. Can my cat or dog lose its exemption from microchipping and lifetime registration?

Yes. If your cat or dog is exempt from microchipping and registration requirements it may lose its exemption if it breaches the Companion Animals Act.

Any dog which has been declared dangerous (including working dogs) must be microchipped and lifetime registered. Similarly, any dog or cat which is the subject of a nuisance order must be microchipped and registered.

If a person is convicted of an offence under the Companion Animals Act, any registration exemption which may apply is lost, and the animal must be microchipped and lifetime registered.

Similarly, if any cat or dog is taken into the custody of a council pound it must be microchipped and registered before being released to its owner (even if it is less than 6 months old).

5. Do I have to register and microchip my cat?

Yes cats must be registered and microchipped the same as dogs.

6. How much does lifetime registration cost?

Registration fees for dogs and cats are set by legislation and councils are unable to change them. Registration fees are subject to change, please check with council before making any payments.

For the current list of fees and charges please visit


7. I have recently moved to NSW – how long until I have to lifetime register my pet?

You have 3 months to register your pet on the NSW Companion Animals Register after you have moved to NSW. Registration is for the life of the animal so even if you move interstate again and then return, your pet is still registered. Don’t forget to update your contact details on the Register by contacting your local council

8. What do I need to do if I give my pet away or sell it?

Under the Companion Animals Act, you cannot sell or give away a companion animal without having it permanently identified by microchip. All puppies or kittens need to be microchipped by the age of 12 weeks, but if you sell or give away animals before this age, you are still responsible for ensuring that they are microchipped before they leave your ownership. A fine applies for breaching these provisions.

9. What do I need to do if my pet is lost or dies?

If your pet has been lost you must notify your local council within 72 hours and if your animal is found you must also let council know that your pet has returned home.

If your pet dies then your local council must be notified within 28 days. You can do so in writing or by phone. All other notifications (including change of address or ownership) must be done in writing, using the appropriate form.

10. Do I have to keep my cat inside?

The Companion Animals Act does not contain any requirement for cats to be kept inside, or a cat curfew. However, cat owners are encouraged to keep their cat inside at night as this can provide many benefits to both the cat itself and the general community

11. Does my dog need to be on a leash?

Yes, dogs must be on a lead at all times unless they are in a designated, sign posted off leash area