Kitty Concern: Petrolia considers cat bylaw



Robb Huff is never sure what carnage he will find when he goes outside.

The Petrolia man and his wife, Carol, like to spend time in their yard but regularly find “half-eaten squirrels and half-eaten baby rabbits.

“There were also about 50 birds this winter,” he told Petrolia councilors Monday.

The Huffs don’t have a wild cat or a coyote in their yard – they say small wildlife is in danger from house cats. “Cats in North America kill somewhere between 900 million to a billion birds on a yearly basis,” Huff says.

And it’s not just the dead wildlife that’s a problem. “The gardens around the house – it’s miserable to work in them because of the cat feces.”

The marauding cats are particularly annoying to the Huffs because they are dog owners who have to pay a licensing fee each year for their pet while cat owners pay no fee and roam free. “I don’t think it is fair we gain money from dogs but not from cats,” he says.

Teryl Unsworth agrees. The Petrolia dog owner wrote to the town about the same issue saying making dog owners pay for tags but leave cats on the loose is “discrimination.”

And like Huff, Unsworth has an issue with wandering neighbourhood cats. Her family was kept awake by a cat which clawed its way into their crawl space and howled for three nights.

“We were forced to open all the entries to the crawlspace in very cold temperatures taking the risk of pipes freezing in the hopes the cat would exit and go away, with no luck,” Unsworth wrote to council. The family eventually used a live trap to catch the animal only to have it come back.

Unsworth also wants the town to adopt a cat tagging system to be fair to all pet owners and to make people responsible for their animals.

“I do not feel it is fair to implement rules for one animal in town and not the other,” Unsworth says.

Petrolia Chief Administrative Officer Manny Baron says these are not the first complaints they’ve heard. Baron says they’ve had several people come to the town over the past few months. All have noted cat owners don’t face the same regulations as dog owners do.

Council has agreed to hold a public meeting on the idea of a cat bylaw in the next few months to see what residents of the town think.



  1. I have picked up 5 stray cats or kittens there. One was horribly sick, so took him to the Humane Society. Another was crippled so he had to go there too. Found three baby kittens walking on Highway 21, also in Petrolia. People can pick up strays and bring them to the Humane Society. This is a frustrating issue because people do not act responsibly toward cats. Cats are dropped off in places just to get rid of them. Humans are behind this problem, not neutering or spaying their cats, and abandoning cats. No one will licence unowned cats. So even licensing owned cats will still leave the problem of strays., not to mention the fate of suffering many face. It is a big problem.

  2. im all for this!!! there are so many strays in my area eating out of my garbage or a stray setting up under my deck to breed!

  3. Okay I disagree first off dogs attack people cuz they walk by a person house cats don’t they run away and sorry but cats are pretty much wild animals like coyotes raccons birds squirrels exc cats don’t attack people they hunt to survive cats are not tamed animals some of them before wild and don’t come back home as much as the owners want them home so I completely disagree with this 100% disagree

  4. Ok so making people pay more money for licenses is going to stop this problem? I dont think so . I bet a 1/4 of the cats out there people dont even own ! This guy that started this needs to suck it up . Put a trap in your yard and get rid of them .

    • Please do not go about trapping feral animals and dumping them wherever you please. That is disgusting and only ends in the animals death.

      Many of these cats are FERAL. A stray, is a cat that was once owned, and is now either lost, or left to live outside. A feral cat is one that has always been outside. A semi feral is one that is feral but is used to humans and can look to humans for food or shelter.

      You cannot possibly license feral and unowned animals, so petrolia needs to stop blaming the animals and start looking at themselves, as they are the ones dumping their pets, or letting them run loose without being fixed. TNR is the solution. Information and education is KEY.
      Please attempt deterrent methods before trapping and relocating innocent animals. Would you like to be scooped up from your yard and relocated and dumped miles away from your home and family? Then we shouldn’t think it’s acceptable to do to animals.

  5. Is this about feral cats? Or cats OWNED by people?

    I’d like to know what those people DID with that cat they trapped, and it disgusts me that their only concerns were tearing into their house to stop a cat from meowing, even though that type of behaviour (hiding and calling) could indicate a very seriously ill animal, and what did they do with her? Funny how the article leaves that out, but then mentions that she came back.

    So they just took the cat and dumped it wherever they like? Hmm I wonder if they tried to dump it at the 30 CAT COLONY LIVING IN THE MIDDLE OF PETROLIA because people in petrolia think it’s ok to just dump their cats wherever they want, JUST like these IGNORANT people in this article did. That cat probably suffered, they removed her from her food source and shelter and WONDER WHY SHE CAME BACK? Strange… you go home every night? Cuz I do…so animals aren’t expected to return to their home?

    As a member of a volunteer group who put COUNTLESS dollars and hours of donated time and money, into trapping, fixing, and medically treating/giving rabies shots to the entire 30 cat colony in the middle of petrolia, and the colony of cats living at the PETROLIA dump, because again, people in petrolia somehow think it’s ok to just dump their unwanted animals wherever they want (AND THEN BLAME THE ANIMAL) I would be very unhappy to see all my hard work go down the drain. It’s not clear if this is about feral cats, or neighborhood cats people own, and there is a huge difference.

    If people were dumping dogs and there was a pack of dogs running around, this issue wouldn’t be cats it would be the dogs, but really NONE of the animals are to blame. It is YOU, the CITIZENS of petrolia, making this a horrible situation for everyone involved. Get your pets fixed. Don’t dump animals or let outside. Call the police on someone you see dumping animals.

    If you just remove all these feral cats, more will come because cats are attracted to food and shelter, and just trapping cats and euthanizing them is so disgusting and dispicable that if that’s what is implemented I will personally start a petition and go door to door in lambton county, showing people real numbers, real statistics, and real studies that have actually been done. It’s amazing what a little bit of knowledge and information can achieve, and how it can change views and opinions.

    Also, I’d like to see this mans yard everyday. I highly expect his story to be over exaggerated. Besides, have you never heard of nature? It’s a dog eat dog world, or should I be more specific, a cat eat bird world. That’s what happens. Animals eat each other. It doesn’t make them bad, it makes them alive. And normal. That fact that it is disgusting this man that he occasionally finds a half eaten body, it’s pathetic to say the least.
    I would BET MY LIFE these people have not tried A SINGLE cat deterrent, and there are DOZENS. If anyone is having problems with a specific neighborhood/feral cat then I suggest going here:

    before coming to the conclusion that animals being outside, and doing their animal thing, is somehow offensive to nature itself, and should be “removed” if you don’t like the animals that are outside, maybe you should move, or not go outside. The world does not belong to you. We are all in this together.

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