Call it a purrtial, political compromise to improve the optics involved in the licensing cat fight.
A majority of Kitchener councillors considering ways to reject efforts by yours truly to research cat licensing approved that task this week as long as the troubling issue disappeared until 2019, a year after the 2018 municipal election.
Staff who didn’t have time to cope with the workload involved in that research will now do most of the same work and report back to council before 2019. The work includes looking at how other municipalities have implemented cat licensing as well as spay neutering and ways to microchips cats in order to help return them to owners.
The clawback compromise was the brainchild of our ever-political Mayor Berry Vrbanovic who, just a few weeks ago, dismissed cat licensing as “a cash grab” that he and others should oppose.
I pointed out to councillors that cats represent 60 per cent of the workload for the local Humane Society which gets $630,000 a year in taxpayer funds while a rough cash estimate shows the city could collect about $500,000 a year by issuing $25 cat licenses.
I also noted that councillors reluctant to upset cat-owning voters might lose the votes and feel the bite of frustrated dog owners who are supposed to pay a $30 licensing fee for their pets while cat owners pay absolutely nothing.