Winnipeg will consider licensing cats in an effort to reduce the population of stray felines.
A city report, released today, recommends cat owners purchase an annual cat licence for $15 if their animal is spayed or neutered or for $50 for intact cats. Winnipeggers who do not license their cat would be fined $250.
The proposed regulations would take effect next January.
Council's protection and community services committee will consider the recommendations at a meeting on Monday.
The recommendations are the result of a review of Winnipeg's pet ownership bylaw. Local animal advocates have complained there are thousands of stray and feral cats on city streets and animal shelters are struggling to deal with the overpopulation problem.
Animal services chief operating officer Leland Gordon said the licensing program will hopefully increase the number of lost cats reunited with their owner.
Right now, the Winnipeg Humane Society takes in 6,000 cats every year and 2,500 are euthanized.
Gordon said only nine per cent of all cats taken in by the humane society are returned to their owners, compared to other cities such as Calgary that return 52 per cent of lost felines due to their cat licensing program. While there may be naysayers who refuse to license their cat, Gordon said he expects most Winnipeggers will license their cat for the added protection.
There are an estimated 200,000 owned cats in the city.
"It's a very sad circumstance," Gordon said of the number of euthanized cats. "That's not happening in Calgary where they have cat licensing."