Legal Obligations for Cat Owners and Guardians in NZ

All cat owners and guardians in NZ have legal obligations. The Animal Welfare Act 1999 (The Act) sets out how people should take care of and act towards animals, and is jointly enforced by SPCA, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Police. The Act is a clear statement to New Zealanders – and to the rest of the world – that animals are sentient and that in New Zealand they have a right to proper and sufficient care.

Animal Welfare Act 1999

View the Animal Welfare Act 1999 on the NZ legislation website

Code of Welfare Cats

View the Code of Welfare for Cats on the MPI website.

Owning a Cat

New Zealand law requires that you take good care of your cat. You must keep your cat healthy and free from distress and pain.


Read more about the Animal Welfare Act on the SPCA website

Frequently Asked Question: Legal Obligations for Cat Owners and Guardians in New Zealand