The Argument For Mandatory Cat Licensing

The Argument For Mandatory Cat Licensing 

Did you know that only approximately 50% of municipalities in North America require that cats be licensed? However, the ASPCA estimates that out of the 6.5 million companion animals to enter animal shelters nationwide every year 3.2 million are cats. Why might this be?

For the most part, the argument against licensing cats falls into two categories: lack of previous success (“We tried, people just don’t want to license their cats!”) and anticipated push-back from residents (“Our residents feel that licensing indoor cats isn’t fair”.) 

Before we tackle these two objections, let’s take a look at the primary reasons why mandatory cat licensing should be pursued:

    1. Revenue. In North America, cats outnumber dogs. We estimate that at just 20% compliance and $15/year license fees, a total of $250,000,000 in potential cat license revenue is being left on the table in North America.
    2. Cost Reduction. All types of cats, even “indoor cats” get lost. With less unique features and breeds, returning lost cats to their owners is much more difficult than it is with dogs. Getting cats licensed dramatically increases the odds of cats being returned home before they reach your shelter.
    3. Animal Welfare. Apart from cost reduction, the licensing of cats ensures that your community’s feline population is consistently monitored. It is also thought that licensing cats can be extremely beneficial to animal welfare organizations helping to lower euthanization rates and decrease shelter administration time.
    4. Community Building. If you can build an audience of registered cat owners, you can communicate with them regularly to inform them about your program, share positive stories about the work your shelter does, and let them help you find new homes for those cats that haven’t licensed, and end up in local your shelter.

How to Roll-Out Mandatory Cat Licensing

If you’re interested in rolling out mandatory cat licensing we have all sorts of advice to share (call us for a free consultation if you like!) but here are our most prominent recommendations:

Invest in awareness. We suggest municipal bill inserts, direct mail and community canvassing as ways to educate your community on the benefits of licensing, the use of license revenue, and the key stats regarding cat welfare in your community.

Make it easy. If you are looking to promote change, make sure that licensing cats is easy, especially utilizing an online platform for licensing. Further, communicate with cat owners at the time of purchase and afterward so they know they did the right thing, and are doing good for your community.

Measuring Success

Across the continent, just 7% of cats are licensed. Surely you can beat this?! Track your compliance rates and share your progress with your community. Be sure to let every licensee know just how important their contribution is, and thank them for making it. Each cat owner who becomes a contributing part of your local animal welfare story should know the role they play and hear a resounding “thanks” for doing their part.

Want to learn more about DocuPet’s success with cat licensing? Connect with us for a free customized program assessment report, or to book a demo of our services.

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