Based on the reaction I’m getting from feline owners, I probably shouldn’t joke about cat licenses forming part of a perfect solution.
But licenses would help pay some of the $630,000 it will cost Kitchener taxpayers in each of the next four years as our Humane Society grapples with caring for hundreds of cats that, on any day, make up more than half their workload.
Kitchener recently almost doubled the $330,000 it paid for Humane Society services for cats, dogs and other strays in 1917 and I believe the current $630,000 annual price will top $1 million by 2019 as our population increases.
I should quickly add that I prefer cats to dogs but believe, in the name of fairness, it’s time we followed other cities by correcting the fact a dog owner is required to pay $30 a year for a license while a cat owner pays nothing.
Those cities include Guelph, Stratford, London, Mississauga, Sudbury, Ottawa, Peterborough, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Montreal where councils had the guts to stand up to the yowling push back from cat owners.
And I’m not suggesting cat owners will be any better than dog owners when it comes to licensing pets — only a third of Kitchener dog owners buy licenses — but I do think cat licenses would help offset those alarming costs.
Microchipping is another alternative to licensing that Humane Society officials say would help them reunite cat owners with pets. But I doubt many cat lovers would want microchips inserted under the skin of beloved kitties and those that do could have necessary surgery done for about $20 in addition to paying for a license.
I also believe council’s financial priorities are totally out of whack when we consider animal costs and those millions would be better invested helping seniors and low-income families having difficulty paying municipal taxes and soaring utility costs.