The results of a study looking at an Ontario town's feline residents has resulted in steps to manage the outdoor cat population.
In the city of Guelph, Ontario, a university town with a population of only 120,000 people, researchers determined there were a whopping 7,600 outdoor cats in the city. The study also found that the number of outdoor cats was significantly higher in low-income areas than in higher-income or commercial areas.
To help manage this staggering number, the City of Guelph has announced they are going to move towards banning outdoor cats within the next five years.
In a new bylaw, which will be presented to city council on December 19 for final approval, all cat owners will be required to purchase a $25 cat license. If approved, this bylaw will become mandatory by 2018. This is the first step in the five-year plan to have a ban on cats roaming outside.
While the long-term goal is the management and reduction in outdoor cat population, in the short term the city believes that enforcing cat licensing will help cat owners see the benefits of keeping cats indoors. The hope is that it will also reconnect more cats that are brought into the Guelph Humane Society with their owners.
One benefit of this proposed bylaw is that $5 from each cat license sold will be allocated to a program developed by the Animal Control Working Group, Guelph Humane Society, and the City of Guelph to address health and welfare issues specific to the city's felines.
The potential introduction of this new bylaw offers an interesting take on managing a city's cat population - if successful, it may pave the way for other cities to follow a similar plan. While not everyone may be happy about the proposed changes, they may even improve the lives of cats in Guelph.
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