Petrolia clamps down on wandering cats; pays to fix up to 60 strays



Town stops short of licencing cats


Petrolia is about to take Bob Barker’s advice and have the cat population spayed or neutered.

But it is also taking steps to make it easier for residents to launch complaints about problem felines in their yards.

The town recently has fielded a number of complaints about nuisance and stray cats. It held a public meeting where residents voiced support for a cat bylaw. At that time, Leanne Symington of Cat Chance spoke about how her group was involved in the Trap, Neuter, Release program.

The group had trapped dozens of cats and taken them to low-cost clinics to have them neutered, returning them to the area they were calling home.

Symington came to council Monday to ask for help with the program. She says simply removing the feral cats will create a void and bring more animals to the area. Doing nothing could mean a cat explosion since each cat can have as many as 420,000 kittens in a lifetime.

Symington says studies in Toronto have shown by neutering feral cats the size of cat colonies has been reduced between 16 and 42 per cent in three to four years. Complaints have dropped 55 per cent.

“I believe your program is the way to go,” says Councillor Joel Field as he suggested the town contribute $60 per cat for up to 60 cats to be neutered by Cat Concern. Council agreed with the plan adding Symington should come back to council in six months to update it on the progress in the town’s cat colony of about 40 animals.

The town also passed an amendment to the Animal Control Bylaw which, as Councillor Grant Purdy says, “makes cats equal to dogs.”

Owners would be responsible to keep all domestic animals – cats included – under control and to pick up after them.

As with dogs, the town would only send in an animal control officer to deal with a wandering cat if there had been a complaint. “This is going to give some teeth to the bylaw that if there was a complaint…if there was a cat ripping into the garbage, you could call for help.”