Cats under house arrest

Toronto city hall has a reputation—deserved or not—for passing more regulations than its suburban counterparts. But while Hogtown thinks about scrapping its pet licensing requirement to save money, the 905 is cracking down on those vicious, sociopathic animals who butcher fowl and furniture alike: house cats.

The Toronto Star reports:

Oakville has joined neighbours Milton, Burlington and Hamilton in prohibiting cats from roaming free. The town has already banned dogs from running loose, but added cats to the list when it consolidated all animal bylaws last month.

Owners whose loose cats repeatedly end up at the Oakville shelter can be fined $105, plus a $30 town surcharge, a return fee of $25 and $15 for each day the cat stays at the shelter.

Johanne Golder said the mentality that cats are “disposable” pets (unwanted kittens are often abandoned or dumped at shelters) is to blame for the huge feline populations in urban centres.

The more cats, the fewer birds, said McGill University avian expert David Bird [whose name is hilarious, but not a joke—ed.].

So, if an Oakville cat is caught outside, spends one day in the shelter and is returned to its home, it will cost the owner $175 or so. Suddenly, our griping about summer camps doesn’t seem so bad after all. The whole clampdown on cats suddenly makes Toronto look like the wild west of pet regulation—our cats are unlicensed and free as the birds they’re feasting on.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t note that bird kills by domestic cats are actually a serious issue—far more lethal to bird populations than, say, wind turbines. Nothing seems to be as deadly to birds, though, aswindows


  1. Thanks to our Toronto friends for sending us the post - brilliant for our ongoing issue of the fear of cats in society

  2. This is unbelievable - control freaks or what?

  3. There are many cities and districts in Canada where cats are not permitted to roam outside. Unfortunate cats who are taken to shelters by Animal Control are very lucky if they are reunited with their owners, even those with microchips can be killed within a few days.

    With so many kittens removed from their Mum at too early an age, fewer domestic, owned cats are capable of successful hunting of wild birds. Even skilled cats don't kill every time. Look at the state of unmanaged feral colonies, skinny, starving - hardly the sign of successful predators.

    Man made threats to wild birds are myriad and plentiful. One threat that doesn't get much of a mention anywhere is the proliferation of the slab or decking covered gardens in urban areas. Owners wishing to raise the value of their property, concrete or slab over their gardens, creating patios or extra parking spaces. This dramatically reduces the amount of plant life and source of food/cover/nesting areas for many birds in urban areas - ergo, a dramatic drop in wild bird populations that is too easily blamed on the domestic cat. The RSPB have given this particular aspect some coverage.