It’s about time cities looked at licensing cats. Discuss

Cat License

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.

7 thoughts on “It’s about time cities looked at licensing cats. Discuss”

  1. im not sure if i agree. i do agree though responsible people should vaccinate,neuter,etc You cant make your cat adhere to the rules. as they dont listen to human rules do they lol

  2. I think a lot of problems come when municipalities use licensing as a “cash cow,” and the money goes to a general fund. Licensing should be tied to some benefit to a responsible owner: reduced fees if an animal is impounded, decreased fees for spay/neuter & microchipping, and reduced fees for those who renew. All these are in effect in my county for dogs. The other day, a friend asked where he could have his old dog euthanized, and I said the “County Shelter,” as I had my old dogs put down there a couple of years ago. But my friend said he checked into it, but they wanted about $200–because his dog was unlicensed and had no shots!

  3. The problem is that the uncaring ‘owners’ of un-neutered cats wouldn’t buy a licence and would just deny the cat was theirs.
    The only way round it would be to micro chip every cat too but then again, only responsible caretakers do that now.
    I remember dog licences here in the UK, 7/6d they were 37 and 1/2p now as we have gone decimal since then.
    I think responsible caring caretakers of any pets would be glad to pay for a licence and micro chip.

    • I agree Ruth – many would ignore it. It would still at least be there to make people think. Better than nothing at all. By making it law people therefore are forced to make a choice. To do nothing and break the law, or to get the licence. I think by forcing the choice on people it means they have to think twice rather than not think at all. It won’t change them as people but it will remind them who they are.

      Albeit a small step – it is a small step in the right direction.

  4. Wish thatI could scan the “Animal License Form” which I rcvd days ago. My cats are due again, e’en though they don’t go outside (cept for Shrimp). “Unaltered cat $36. Neutered or spayed cat $19. How much would you like to contribute to Spay/Neuter program? Injured Animal fund? Pet Education?”

    That is what our form looks like here in Lincoln, NE.

    We are about to pay for the neighbor’s cat as well, after having him neutered and vaccinated. (Soon, hopefully, against FIP, as well.)

    I am still gleaning more info from The Cat House here in Lincoln, who now head the TNR program for our feral communities, so that I can start a petition to our Animal Control Dept (they are, of course, in charge of licensing).

    • Caroline – interesting info – you are for or against?

      Michael I am for just for the reason of education and responsibility training. It is like this in Belgium and I think it will be soon here too. The only real change will come through education and younger generations changing their point of view. In that sense it would be a good thing. it would mean that you have to at least think about it. People would have to make a choice. Just that would be a reminder of the seriousness. So it should be. It is very serious.


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