Dear Crabby, Does Rochester Really want me to Leash My Cat?

Dear Crabby, How Can Rochester City Council Group Cats and Dogs Together in Ordinances Suggesting Cats can be Controlled the Same as Dogs?

Sincerely, Alisha Feline


Dear Alisha,

By chance, I happened to watch the Rochester City Council meeting last week regarding the ordinance change you are taking about. Just so our readers understand, City Council is calling this a “clean up” to an existing ordinance to further clarify that yes indeed, both dogs and cats are to be in “reasonable control” at all times. Sounds good on the surface until you read the nuts and bolts of government at work.

A few years ago City Council decided that all dogs and cats must have vaccines, which I’m sure is really to control Rabies. I feel must people get that. They also went round and round with the length of dog leashes and what is “reasonable control.” They say, those sections of the ordinance were for dogs, as well as cats. However, the word “cats” was not included in all the language. So, they have done their clean-up work suggesting cats must be under control by their owner at all times, just like dogs.

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

Obviously, the councilmembers have never had a cat – they can’t be that naïve – because, the rest of the world knows we don’t own them, cats choose to reside with us. The ordinance calls for all dogs and cats to be confined to their property. It’s really difficult to confine a cat. We all know that, but for some reason city council can’t figure it out. They should have brought in animal experts to explain it to them – or better yet, asked me to.

At large cats serve a great purpose, they control the rodent population. Sure some birds and bunnies get caught up in the mix, but mice, moles, voles, rats – all those horrible tiny critters – are varmints that cats provide a reasonable control over. It is just like government to create a new problem – we’ll be overrun by rodents soon if we keep our cats indoors and on leashes. Then they’ll bring in some nutty professor, have a study done, and decide we need to install a better mousetrap to kill the varmints. And then they’ll make the residents pay for it all. Or, they could just let the cats roam free again.

Final reading and voting will be at council’s next meeting, but it doesn’t look good for the cats.

Anyhow, this will never be “policed” and cats will probably do as they have always done – they’ll meet in a secret location plotting to take over the world and now, Rochester City Council may just be first on their list.

This reminds me a column I wrote called “Doesn’t Everyone Like Cats.” While that article tells you I’m not a fan of cats, I have softened my stance in the last few years, you may read my “Should I get a cat or a dog” column I wrote earlier this year.

Good luck walking your cat on a leash this summer!

Sincerely, Dear Crabby


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  1. Sue Ann Douglas says

    Thanks, Dear Craby. Yes. I know what you’re talking about. I happen to have a rescued cat who won’t go outside if you leave the doors open. She obviously loves it here but I sure feel sorry for anyone who has a cat who likes to go outside. You can’t just tell them that they can’t go out anymore. They will be miserable and so will there owners.
    I was on the City Council over 20 years ago when the rabies requirement for cats was added to the ordinance. That was all about 2 neighbors; one with a cat and one with a sandbox. The cat owners were punished by adding the rabies requirement to the dog ordinance. Even the state does not require rabies shots for cats and the ordinance was never intended to require cats to be inside or on a leash. (I voted against it)
    The reality is that this will be enforced when a crabby neighbor complains to the city of Rochester. Quite frankly, most cat owners keep their cats inside but some cats will lie in wait to make a dash for the door when someone opens it and are often successful. Good luck to those who have a cat used to going outside!

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