Cornwall cats will be licenced; long term sterilization plan

In this May 2018, file photo, a kitten peeks out of a basket outside the Cornwall city council chambers. The city has passed a licencing measure for cats and also committed to a long term sterilization plan. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – Just like dogs, cats in the City of Cornwall will be licenced starting February 2021.

With little discussion, Cornwall City Council passed the measure Monday night as part of a comprehensive plan to deal with both people letting their felines run the neighbourhood and also the feral cat population.

The cat control strategy bylaw also makes a long term commitment to a subsidized sterilization program while it also exempts so-called Approved Fostering Organizations from licencing. Those are groups that rescue cats. The city earmarked $40,000 for spay-neuter procedures this year.

Asked by Coun. Claude McIntosh – a long time indoor cat owner – about how difficult it will be to enforce, Bylaw Division Manager Charles Bray says it “will take some time as people become accustomed to this new registry.”

Mayor Bernadette Clement says after “fits and starts,” the new strategy is a “reasonable approach” and is also about investing in a long term plan to deal with cat overpopulation.

Cat licences will be roughly the same cost as dogs – $25 a year for a desexed cat and $50 for one that’s not spayed or neutered. The city has approximately 3,500 active dog licences.

As for clinics, Bray says a clinic with a spay and neuter provider would be done later this year.