Cat lovers in Lacombe may soon need a licence to own a feline in the city.
Council will discuss the possibility of introducing a new bylaw enforcing cat owners to license their pets at its next meeting.
Coun. Chris Ross submitted a motion to investigate bringing in the bylaw because he has heard a lot of complaints from residents about cats running wild.
Ross said it is a proactive measure to battle the cats who are being a nuisance to some property owners and to deal with irresponsible and disrespectful pet owners.
“Some cats can stray into a neighbour’s property, leave their natural waste behind and … it’s definitely frustrating for some people,” said Ross. “Some people have heart, pride in ownership in their property – they don’t want to pick up after other people’s pets.”
Ross said he wants pet owners to take responsibility for their animals.
“It’s a lack of respect of another’s property by letting your animal go onto their property and make a mess.
“Some families have young children who may be in the dirt playing, who shouldn’t have to deal with feces of unwanted pets on their property,” said Ross.
Ross said he would like to have a system where cats are microchipped.
“If we were to catch a cat, we could return that cat to the owner without having to hold the animal at a facility until it’s claimed or re-homed,” he said.
Having cats brought to a shelter costs taxpayers, he added.
“Animals are animals and will sometimes stray from their property,” he said. “We just feel it needs to be dealt with more correctly.”
Ross said he hopes a bylaw is in place by the end of February.
Jim deBoon, owner and operator of Klassic Kennels in Red Deer County, said he is in favour of treating cats just like dogs when it comes to licensing.
“I believe licensing cats is completely appropriate,” said deBoon. “I do not understand how someone’s Yorkshire Terrier needs a license, but someone’s cat doesn’t.”
Klassic Kennels, located just north of Red Deer, serves 13 communities, about seven of which have cat licensing bylaws, said deBoon.
While deBoon said he doesn’t believe all cats need to be microchipped, he is in favour of cats being tagged or microchipped.
“Giving us that extra tool of either a chip or a tag would help raise our return-to-owener rate even higher,” he said.
Last year, over 300 cats came through Klassic Kennels.