Owner of outdoor cats reminded to get a license

Owners of outdoor cats in Côte Saint-Luc who do not purchase licenses risk losing their pets, Councillor Mike Cohen warns.

Councillor Cohen, who is responsible for Animal Protection in the city, wishes to  issue a reminder that since 2012 owners of outdoor cats have been required to buy a license, which includes a tag worn around the neck.

“I implore cat owners to license their outdoor cats,” said Councillor Cohen. 

In the last few weeks Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee Chair Diane Liebling has been called to different homes to trap what the callers thought were homeless cats. Ms. Liebling did so and brought them to the Côte Saint-Luc Hospital for Animals. None of the cats had licenses, but they were microchipped. One was reunited with his owner immediately; but in the other case the microchip did not work and it was only via communications with the SPCA that they were able to find the owner. Two months ago a cat was found under someone’s balcony without a tag or microchip. When nobody stepped forward in two weeks, the cat was adopted by someone else.

“If you love your cat and you plan to let it go outside then please get a license,” said Ms. Liebling. “Through our Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Program we will pick up any cat we see on the street which does not have a license.  We do recognize that sometimes tags slip off cats. That is why it is doubly important to make sure your cat is microchipped.” 

Stated Councillor Cohen:  “Personally, I have always had concerns about people who have outdoor cats. I have seen the pain and anguish experienced by some of my own neighbours, whose cats went out at night and never returned. The fact is, if you do insist upon having an outdoor cat then please purchase a license and make sure they are microchipped by the local veterinarian. It is a small price to pay to significantly increase the odds if your cat goes missing.” 

Outdoor cats in the City of Côte Saint-Luc need a cat licence following By-law 2394 that came into effect on November 1, 2012. Owners of outdoor cats must have them registered at City Hall (5801 Cavendish Blvd.) and obtain a cat identification tag, provide relevant information required to process the registration of the cat, and produce a certificate from their veterinarian stipulating that the cat has been spayed or neutered, provided the cat is six months or older.

The annual registration fee is $10 for an outdoor cat that is spayed or neutered and that bears a microchip or a tattoo, $15 for an outdoor cat that is spayed or neutered, but does not bear a microchip or tattoo, and $20 for an outdoor cat that is not spayed or neutered as a result of a medical exemption. The latter alludes to a feline 10 calendar years or older or one that has a medical exemption from the veterinarian attesting to the fact that it cannot be spayed or neutered. Fines will be issued to cat owners not complying with the by-law. They range from a minimum of $40 to a maximum of $1,200. 
In one of the cases where a cat was returned, the owner claimed she could not keep the animal any longer. “This made us very suspicious and angry,” said Ms. Liebling. “The Animal Hospital took her back and we have found someone to foster the cat for now. We are looking at what legal action can be taken against this individual for abandonment.” 

Ms. Liebling took the opportunity to remind all residents of Côte Saint-Luc that if they see any homeless cats near their residence to call the Cats Committee hotline at 514-485-6800 ext. CATS (2287) and every effort will be made to trap them. If the cat is sociable, the committee will try to get it adopted. Cats which are feral will be returned to the spot they were found. The CSLCC has many people in the community who feed these cats year-round.

For more information about licensing, visit CoteSaintLuc.org/PetLicenses. For more information about the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee, visit CoteSaintLuc.org/cats.

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