Will A Three Cat Per Home Limit Help?

Bay City, Michigan is debating a new ordinance which will restrict each household to a maximum of three cats.

Man with nine cats

Nine cats. He’d be in trouble in Michigan 😉

The reason for the possible introduction of this ordinance is to reduce the number of stray cats wandering around Bay City. City councillors say the city is teeming with stray cats and there is a need to do something about it. However, will limiting the number of cats per home reduce the number of stray cats outside the home, on the streets? What is the thinking behind this?

There are many responsible cat caretakers who care for more than three cats. They will be “punished”, it is said. I don’t see it that way but some people will disagree with me. No doubt the ordinance will allow many years for the law to be gradually phased in to avoid people having to relinquish cats in order to meet the three cat limit.

The president of the local Humane Society, Wolicki-Nichols, disagrees with the ordinance. She says, “that is absolutely absurd to me.” She loves cats and cares for more than three.

Her argument is that “we’re adding to the number that are looking for homes,” which I suppose means that the ordinance will mean less homes becoming available for homeless cats.

In the short-term she is correct. In the long-term she might well be incorrect. This is because if there are less cats in a home there is less opportunity for one of the cats to breed or escape and wander to become a stray cat – the sort of cat that the councillors want to limit. That is the goal.

A reasonable number of cat owners spay their female cats after the age at which she becomes sexually active. They may become pregnant. Some cat owners believe that a female cat needs to give birth to a litter once before being spayed to create a better personality. This is incorrect and it leaves the door open to the procreation of more cats.

What the Bay City leaders are thinking is that if there are less cats in homes there will be a reduced chance of (a) procreation and (b) cats who go AWOL from their homes.

Do you agree? Don’t forget there is a street cat problem across the USA, we are led to believe (some believe this isn’t a problem). Many Americans believe there are too many cats in the US – too many ferals and strays which equal the number of domestic cats at about 90m.

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Will A Three Cat Per Home Limit Help? — 13 Comments

  1. I think the law is ludicrous and limiting in several ways. First of all this law is too broad. A law should not only decide on a number each owner is limited to but also decide an acceptable guideline for animal rescuers/foster parents if they choose to foster animals past that number. Such guidelines should allow a permit to be issued by the city or humane society that outlines the specific care measures and requirements to be able to obtain such a permit. An example would be allowing house visits for fosters and providing documentation on current animals in regards to being fixed and having an updated rabies vaccination.

    However, I do think the three animal limit is a little over the tops. I know tons of people that have 5 cats or 5 dogs, or a mixture of five animals. The five animal limit seems to be the most acceptable limit if one was to be enforced. I say that after working in a humane society for years and seeing how well this limit keeps animals off of the street and people coming back to adopt. However, in the case of stray cats, much more work comes to keeping that number of stray cats down then simply enforcing an animal limit. It requires education, effective rehoming and rehabilitation programs, and a caring shelter team.

    • I am a believer in no limits for household pets as long as all are neutered and well cared for.
      There is no correlation between the number of household cats and the number of strays.

        • I really wish law makers would listen to that logic rather than imposing limits. I am currently trying to get a ordinance here changed to at least allow for more cats. The current ordinance here where I live is five dogs or three cats, that was made in 1966. I could not imagine an owner being told they have too many cats or dogs, if they were taken well care of, and told they would have to sacrifice one… with how full animal shelters are. As you said, it would be nice to slash the limits if it were easy enough to do so or fight against.

  2. exactly ruth thats what i agree with. I just think there needs to be responsible cat ownership and for abuse to stop!!!

  3. It doesn’t make sense to me! Far more helpful would be compulsory neutering of all domestic cats, it would solve such a lot of problems.

  4. i think the main problem is that it should be mandatory for all cats and dogs to be fixed this would stop the problems of kittens and puppies. Maybe even not having so much pedigree animals either.

    • I think it will come down to mandatory fixing and registration and limits to say three cats one day. The attitude towards companion animals is changing and that includes dogs in the UK.

      • I think people who have Proven track record to be responsible caretakers, i.e has got their pets fixed and regular vaccinated etc. , I think they should be able to have more than 3 esp. Just my thoughts anyway.

  5. There’s nothing about this proposed ordinance that makes sense to me.

    There’s no connection between limiting household cat numbers and reducing the number of strays.

    An ordinance like this will only cause more harm to cats by reducing the number of adoptions and increasing the numbers of cats entering kill shelters with no hope of being homed.

    Ordinances like this are put into play by people who have no knowledge about cats and can’t be bothered to get input from people who do.

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