A Definition of “Nuisance Cat”

The Trustees of the town of Carbondale, Colorado, USA have passed an ordinance (a law) which defines “a nuisance cat”. The intention is to reduce the number of outside cats which includes strays becoming ferals.

The definition: A nuisance cat is one which causes unprovoked personal injury, that wanders at large and whose owner can’t be found, that is diseased, that disturbs the peace by habitual meowing or that soils someone else’s property without it being picked up by the owner.

Nuisance Cat
Nuisance Cat
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The definition is interesting. By the backdoor it makes the owner of a cat vicariously liable for the trespassing of their cat onto someone else’s property to go to the toilet.

The definition is also very widely drafted. If a cat is an inside/outside and wanders far where the owner is unknown the cat might well be branded a nuisance cat.

The definition refers to a cat that is “diseased”. I think the law makers need to define that word too in the context of the ordinance. It is a word that is easily misconstrued. What about a loved outside/inside cat who is old and who has some geriatric diseases such as periodontal disease, feline Hyperthyroidism, constipation and kidney disease? Would this sweet, old cat be labelled a “nuisance”?

Playing devil’s advocate, the ordinance leaves the door open to malicious reporting to the authorities by cat haters or neighbours with an axe to grind. It could lead to some unfortunate situations. It may be impractical or difficult to enforce this law.

The penalties are quite severe. If the owner is unknown the cat will be impounded. If the owner is known he/she could be fined up to $1,000 and/or 180 days in jail.

The ordinance is a new way to try and reduce stray cat numbers. The city’s lawmakers decided not to make spaying and neutering obligatory. Obligatory spaying and neutering is obviously one way to reduce cat population sizes.

The reason for not going down the spaying and neutering route was because it was decided that many cat owners would abandon their cats if they were forced to pay for spaying and neutering. That argument is ridiculous. It implies that there are many careless cat owners in the area who should not be cat owners. If a cat owner cannot afford neutering they should not be cat owners. Mandatory neutering is a better route in my opinion when combined with registration.

Any laws regarding controlling stray cat numbers will be fraught with difficulties because this is about changing a culture amongst the minority of irresponsible cat owners. Can a law achieve that?

6 thoughts on “A Definition of “Nuisance Cat””

  1. This poster that some individual made is so abrasive, hostile, even threatening that it would make me want to take a police officer with me to retrieve the cat if he/she were mine. Somewhat similar to road rage, this is feline rage That reaction isn’t helpful at all and closes all doors to discussion with the cat’s caretaker.. I think that posting a softer ad would afford the opportunity for this person to have a rational conversation with the caretaker and, perhaps, achieve some reolution.

    • I agree, Dee. I can understand the individual’s anger, but going off like that would only put the cat owner on the defensive. It’s possible the cat’s owner wouldn’t respond positively in the first place, but acting like this just cuts off all communication.

    • You completely disrespectfully force your vermin cats on everyone else, and then when told they are now seen as vermin by everyone else because of what a nuisance you have made your cats into, you STILL whine that the person that you INTENTIONALLY irritated to no-end with your vermin nuisance animal should now be NICE to you about it? Nobody’s buying your pathetic and pitiful self-victimization song & dance acts that you use to manipulate everyone in your life. If your cat must die because you won’t do anything about it, then so be it. Then you get to really cry boo-hoo. And nobody but you will care. How many of your cats must die before you learn to respect the lives of all others around you? The ones by me lost hundreds of their cats before they even started to learn. Is that how many it will take for you too? PROBABLY! Boo-hoo! 🙂

  2. I agree with you, Michael. This ordinance leaves the door open for all kinds of human mischief. Making spaying and neutering obligatory would have been a better way to go.

    • Thanks Serbella. I am pleased we agree on this. I think this ordinance is a genuine attempt to reduce unwanted cat numbers but I don’t see it working well.


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