The town in Massacheusetts that was considering leash laws for cats has decided against it.  The town’s council cited the following reasons for recommending against the proposal:

  1. The council didn’t see cats in Weymouth, MA as a nuisance at this time, receiving only 3 complaints in 3 years.  None of the complaints were due to cat droppings.
  2. The law would be hard to enforce.
  3. The burden would be heavy for the town to care for stray cats, as the law did not specify how long animal control had to care for the cats they picked up – it could be 30 days or more.
  4. Collars could pose a choking hazard for cats.

Town Solicitor George Lane said “What would it take, a department of municipal cat enforcement?”

In my opinion…

The council made some good points.  Cats that are left outside will urinate and deficate outdoors.  The urination is more likely to be a nuisance due to the smell.  In some instances, other cats will be drawn to the area and become territorial and also make their mark… causing a nuisance.

When it comes to enforcement, I agree that unless the cat has a collar and tag on, it would be hard to know who the cat’s owner is in order to enforce this law… and this may be why evil people take matters into their own hands and cats go missing.  The third point, while very good for the cat, is not good for irresponsible pet owners who may just let their cats out and expect the town to pick them up and take them.  It enables people to dump their cats, knowing there’s a “safety net” of sorts.

Finally, I agree that traditional collars do pose choking hazards, especially for outdoor cats that climb trees – be sure to use a break-away collar so that your cat will not get stuff if they find themselves in a precarious situation.

As you all know, I’ve made the decision to keep my cats indoors and provide lots of cat trees, scratching posts, wall ledges to climb on and toys to play with… they never get bored.  And I do it to protect them from coyotes, dogs in the area, and people who do not love cats and might harm them.

Perhaps a law isn’t the solution to stray cats, but a better educated human population is…

What’s your opinion?  How would you feel if your housecat was picked up by law enforcement because they considered it a stray?   What do you think of the council’s decision?