We are discussing the USA here. Calgary does it. Winnipeg is thinking about it. What do cat owners think about it? I am certain that most cat owners don’t like the idea of licensing cats because it curtails their freedoms (nanny state) and adds an extra expense to living. The anti-cat license lobby say it will cause people to discard their cats, which will make things worse. The current economic climate makes this more likely than ever.
The pro-cat license lobby say the money raised can be fed into trap-neuter-return of feral cats and cat licensing will dramatically improve reuniting lost cats with their owners. Cats owners say their cats don’t go out so what is the purpose of licensing. Those for licensing say a lot more cats get out than is admitted by cat owners. These cats can become feral and produce more feral cats.
What is behind licensing is a desire to reduce the number of unwanted cats, to improve accountability and make cat owners more responsible. There are too many cats killed because they are unwanted – so the argument goes – although some people say they are actually wanted, it is just a question of placing cat with person.
A Winnipeg city committee is discussing a cat licensing bylaw so it is at a quite advanced stage. The proposed fee will be $15 for a sterilized cat and $50 for an intact cat. Failing to license your cat would incur a fine of $250.
There is no doubt in my mind that there is a gradual trend towards an acceptance of cat licensing in the USA and Australia. It is never discussed in the UK because there are no feral cats in the UK! Well, there are some but it is too damn cold for there to be many. Feral cats are not a problem in the UK. We never see them.
It is about attitude ultimately. You can turn feral cats into community cats whereupon they are no longer a problem but an asset, almost. Feed, spay and neuter feral cats and enjoy their company and you have turned disharmony into harmony.
Israelis accept their community cats and there appears to be harmony. Americans see feral cats as a problem killing wildlife etc.. Brits accept their feral cats (the ones we can see). I don’t hear anything coming out of Germany. There are no feral cats in Switzerland. Stray and feral cats aren’t a problem in some countries.
Cat licensing polarizes people. My reading of the situation is that public opinion is split on this. I am sure PoC regulars don’t like it. I tend to favor it because it assists cat welfare and helps make the cat owners who are irresponsible, more responsible. There are upsides.