The article “Greater Victoria group calls for cats to be licensed” introduces the Victoria Natural History Society’s idea of licensing cats. As a cat owner, I would support licensing cats with well thought-out details.
Licensing pet cats would be a good idea, providing that the program ensures they are vaccinated and spayed/neutered. In addition, the revenue from licensing cats must fund sterilization and other programs addressing cat overpopulation and welfare.
However, cats are not dogs. Controlling cats in the same way we control dogs is impractical. If confined indoors or physically restrained outside, most cats become frustrated even depressed, which leads to bad behaviour or health problems. Forcing cats to stay indoors or physically restraining them is not only cruel, but also will condemn more abandoned cats to death in already over-populated pound and shelter. While the concerns of bird lovers are understandable, harming cats is not the right solution.
Some blame cats for declining bird populations. Yes, some cats kill some birds, but let’s not forget that cats kill far more rodents than birds. Victoria has proudly become the second rattiest city in B.C. With fewer cats going after rats, expect more rats. Then what do we do? Use poison to kill rats?
The truth is humans cause many more bird deaths by cutting down trees, using toxic lawn and garden chemicals, air pollution and climate change. Yet we try to change cats’ natural behaviour rather than correct human mistakes. It would be far more useful to eliminate poisonous lawn and garden chemicals which not only kill birds and pets but damage our health.
Your newspaper had a survey on cat licensing. The question was too simple and not well considered. I suggest you conduct another more useful survey with several questions:
• Should pet cats be licensed?
• What should be included with cat licensing?
• Keeping cats indoor
• Walking cats outdoor on leashes
• Allowing cats to go out unleashed
• Should licensing revenue be dedicated to vaccinating and sterilizing cats?