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Kitchener city council is studying the idea of licensing cats.

Councillor Frank Etherington introduced a motion to have city staff research a cat licensing system. Council hesitated about introducing the “potentially provocative” issue, which would impact tens of thousands of cat owners in the city of Kitchener.

There is no concrete data on exactly how many cats live in the city but "guesstimates" indicate that approximately one third of the city’s 92,200 households have one or more cats, which puts the total number of cats somewhere in the neighbourhood of 57,000 felines. The suggested licensing fee would be $25 per cat with the money going to help support the local humane society. The "guesstimate" does not include the assumed 15,000 feral cats in the city, which cannot be adopted as pets.

Is it even possible to enforce licensing of cats? Of the, approximately, 50,000 dogs living in Kitchener, 16,000 are licensed.

Etherington noted that Calgary, Stratford and Guelph already license cats and the fee helps cover the cost of the local animal shelter and the license makes it much easier to reunite lost animals with their owners.

Bylaw enforcement officer, Gloria MacNeil stated researching the issue would be a major undertaking that would require "significant public consultation".

“Any time the city is considering anything to do with putting restrictions on animals, there’s a large amount of public interest, with very strong views on both sides.”

Following an hour-long discussion of the issue council opted to “defur” the matter to the December 4th council meeting.

This issue raises so many questions in my own mind …

How do you keep a collar with the tags attached on a cat? Back in the day, when I did have cats that went outdoors, more often than not they returned without their collars … which were breakaway collars for their own safety. I’m sure there would be a fee for replacement tags.

How is this enforceable for cats that remain indoors at all times? Surveillance cameras in the pet food aisles? Veterinarians reporting unlicensed cats?

Would the license be necessary for cats already in a home or would this be initiated with new adoptions? Would the license fee be included in the, already significant, adoption fee? What about private adoptions and rehomes?

So many questions where the answers just seem to raise more questions. In my humble opinion, with the state of the city at this time, there are more pressing issues for council to be taking into consideration. For instance, let’s discuss the businesses suffering and/or closing due to the LRT construction delays.

What’s your opinion?

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