There is a story today from Massachusetts, USA which convinces me that if a person wants to keep a large number of cats in their home a license should be mandatory. I have set the limit at 6 max. but it could a number between 5 and 10 ,I think. In the story a person kept 61 cats in a large home and it caught fire. Thirty-four cats died. A horror; while 3 people were hurt. Frankly, these are poor statistics.
It is unacceptable for someone to keep this number of cats at a home without any controls from the local authority. When a person has 61 cats in a house special requirements are required.
If you have one cat at a home there are no special requirements. A population of cats above 10 requires management skills and funding. It requires knowledge of cat welfare and it is much harder to ensure that the cats remain in good health. The demands are often too high for the owner. They don’t realise it until it is too late and cats start to die and become seriously ill (the fire is an added catastrophe). And the home can become uninhabitable too for the people. They need protecting from themselves.
Fires are rare but when they happen 34 cats should not perish. It is unforgivable. It is the same old story: the humans get out and the cats die. The whole process from beginning to end of acquiring the cats to failing to save them when the house goes up in smoke is a big failure because the animals suffer.
Sometimes, exceptionally rarely, there are people who are able to look after 60 cats properly but 99% of the time these people fail. That tells me that there needs to be some local authority ordinances to protect the cats. And one of those ordinances would be the said license.
Such a license would help prevent cat hoarding and unnecessary cat suffering. There is invariably suffering among the multitude of cats because invariably the person can’t cope to the required standard.
If the person fails to apply for a license but hoards cats the punishment should be a fine plus removal of all the cats and a ban on the person looking after animals for 5 years. The same punishment would apply if a license was granted but on a routine inspection of the premises, as per the license, it was found that the conditions were unacceptable and the cats’ health was compromised.
It is time to bite the bullet and get tough on the people who end up like the person in the story. It is time to get tough on animal abusers whatever their motive or intent. These proposed ordinances should be ‘strict liability’ which means there is no defence and no discretion on the part of the police and prosecutors as to whether a prosecution proceeds. It should proceed if the number of cats is above 10 and there is no license. Period.