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Although they are considered independent animals, it is dangerous for cats - and can be bothersome to neighbours - when they are allowed to roam free. In the average North American city, there are three times as many cats as there are dogs. However, far fewer lost cats are claimed at local animal shelters, resulting in needless euthanasia and an increased cost in animal control. If you own a cat, take a moment to read about the regulations that apply to your pet.  

If properly cared for, cats are clean, quiet and affectionate pets. Most cat owners are responsible pet owners who keep their cats under control at all times. If however roaming neighbourhood cats are causing damage to or disturbance on your property, keep in mind that the owners of those cats may not be aware of the problem. Speak to them about your concerns and follow some of the following tips to discourage roaming cats from going onto your property.

  • Plant rue, a strong-scented perennial woody herb, in various spots in flower beds or near windows and doors where roaming cats tend to spray. Rubbing the leaves of the plant on the area of a window or door to which the cat is attracted may also discourage the animal. Rue is available at most major garden centres.
  • Wet with water or sprinkle with cayenne pepper (or any other hot pepper) the soil of gardens and flowerbeds.

Cat owners may already know that not everyone in the neighbourhood adores their feline friends as much as the owner does. Some neighbours tend to look on uninvited cat guests as unwelcome ones. Even though cat owners are not required to keep their pets leashed or indoors, they are expected, under the Animal Care and Control By-law, to control kitty's outdoor activities and take responsibility for the pet by not allowing their cat to cause damage to or disturbance on other residents' property. This is in the public interest and in the interest of animal welfare.

The above mentioned provisions apply only to a cat owner who resides in an area of the City where the zoning permits residential land use. They do not apply to a cat owner who resides on land zoned agricultural, general rural, rural, rural-agricultural or marginal resource in the applicable zoning by-laws of the old municipalities.