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Niagara Falls
Monday, May 20, 2024
Letter of the Week: Cats shouldn’t be roaming our neighbourhoods
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

There has been a lot published about Zeus the cat, who was trapped and dumped in rural Niagara-on-the-Lake, but no one has addressed the real issue.

Municipalities should pass bylaws but just punishing frustrated neighbours is not the answer.

I am a cat lover and have had cats for more than 30 years.

All of our cats have been rescues. Some we got from a shelter and others showed up in our yard.

After feeding them and trying to find the owners we either kept them or took them to a shelter.

Where we lived there were a large number of cats allowed to roam, plus strays and a feral colony, so we have a lot of first-hand experience with the issue.

Municipalities do need some new bylaws but they also need to address the root problem. The bylaws should prohibit cats from being allowed to roam loose.

Yards are much smaller these days and it is almost impossible to keep a cat from going into a neighbour’s yard.

I have bird feeders and should not have to stop feeding the birds just because the neighbour’s cat decides to use my yard as a hunting ground.

Friends also have complained about having to clean up after cats spraying their porches or doors or using their planters and garden beds as a litter box.

Contrary to what some cat owners think, their cat is likely to be a nuisance to someone at some point. Zeus was trapped and dumped elsewhere but I have heard of people doing much worse.

Although it is an adjustment, most cats can be trained to stay indoors. It takes patience. It helps to provide them with toys or, for a younger cat, a playmate.

The best solution is to keep them in from the time they are a kitten. It has been proven that indoor cats live a longer, healthier life. Hopefully Zeus will make that transition.

For decades there have been municipal bylaws prohibiting dog owners from allowing their animals to roam off leash.

While those bylaws were driven by a fear of dog attacks, they provide a broader benefit. They protect the animal from being hit by a car, attacked by another animal or a person.

It also protects the animal from getting into toxic substances like rat poison, weed killer or anti-freeze that someone may have in their yard.

Municipalities should give cats the same protections we give dogs.

Judith Baird

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