Cat Licensing

I believe that cats should be indoor animals; however, I have lived with numerous cats who disagree with me.  Cats are easy to train to be indoor animals, until they experience the outdoors and all that training goes out the door (or window).  Having experienced the outdoors, the cat is compelled to be an outdoor animal.   When this event occurs, it is time to double check that you cat is still wearing its collar with pet license and other identification.

Why should you cat have multiple identification?    If your local jurisdiction requires licenses, the only phone number on the license tag is one to your animal shelter or city/county clerk.  These offices are not always open.  Someone finding your cat, even if you don’t think it is lost, will have no one to call in the middle of the night.  Putting a tag on your pet with your phone number may save you a trip to your local shelter to reclaim your pet and save you the cost of reclaiming your pet.

Cat licensing ordinances are the most difficult ordinances to pass.  Many people don’t believe it is possible to own a cat and city councils and county commissions often agree.  People see licensing as a pet tax, which it is; but, it also indicates that the animal that bit or scratched you may be vaccinated for rabies.  I said, “may be” because people frequently place licenses ontheir pets that are not registered for that pet.

I believe in pet taxes because pet owners are the ones who benefit most from animal control services.  These are the folks that pick up your pet from a frustrated neighbor when your pet is digging or pooping in their yard.  If these folks didn’t have someone to call, who knows how they might take out their frustrations.

Most cat owners are too lazy to put (and keep) a collar and tag on their cat.  They claim that the collar endangered the cat by getting the cat hung up on a tree branch.  I have spent a lifetime rescuing cats and have yet to rescue a cat from its collar.  Don’t make excuses, just admit that you are too lazy.

Differential licensing is setting a lower license fee for animals who have been spayed or neutered.  People think this is unfair to charge more for a fertile animal; but the fact is that fertile animals and the cause of the pet overpopulation crisis that many animal shelters face.  If you are not smart enough to immediately recognize the benefit of spayed or neutered pets, then you should pay a higher tax so that animal shelter has the funds to take care of your poor judgement.

I believe that pet license expirations should coincide with the expiration of the rabies vaccination.  The initial vaccination is good for one year and most revaccinations are good for three years.  Many veterinarians  may only vaccinate for one year, so as to force you to come back each year for an office visit.  I support the notion to visit your veterinarian annually, but I oppose over vaccinating a pet.  If your veterinarian insists on giving your pet an annual rabies vaccination, it is time to look for a new veterinarian.

The main reason for putting identification on your cat is that less an 7 percent of lost cats are ever returned to their owner.  The fact is that people don’t search for their lost cat.  The main reason (not laziness (but that figures in)) is that cats are not the most loyal of creatures and might have a history of moving in with a neighbor from time to time.  Even with the longest holding times, cat owners usually don’t begin the search for their cat until the holding period has long run out.

Neighborhoods are full of frustrated people who spend their time trapping the cats that come in their yard.  It is their response to the callousness of cat owners who believe they don’t have a responsibility to keep their cats confined.  Many cities have programs for catching stray (loose) cats.  I have lived in places in which we had to keep ordering more and more traps because of the high demand.  Most of the cats that are trapped have no identification; the cats that do have identification are frequently returned within minutes of being trapped.

For the people who have not figured out how to keep a collar on their cat, you might think that microchipping is the answer.  As I have always said, microchips are a poor form of secondary identification… it is better than nothing, but not much better.  It is very hard to scan a cat in a live trap.  The cat is so freaked out, that many times the cat acts feral and for the safety of the staff, the cat is not immediately scanned for a microchip.  A collar and tag can immediately identify the cat as having an owner.  Keep a cat indoors spares the cat from the experience of being trapped.