Cash Cow or Cash Cat?



My wife tore up the letter from the City of Ottawa, or I would have posted it here. It seems Marshall’s license is due for renewal.

If you read this blog regularly you know that Marshall was our cat, who died last month. The city knows we have a cat because the Ottawa Humane Society reported our purchase to them 18 months ago. The city apparently does not take note of cat deaths, though I did indeed return Marshall’s earthly remains to the Humane Society.

Licensing cats is a relatively new thing for the city, something that cat owners maintain is just a bold-faced revenue grab. I’d like to give the city the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it isn’t about revenue but instead about providing jobs for bureaucrats so they don’t have to do real work like filling potholes in our streets.

As I understand it, the big rationale is that if your cat is licensed then the city has a record of who you are and can return your animal to you if it strays. Except, the city does not issue tags anymore (to save money you understand) so if your straying animal is picked up they have no way of knowing your beast is registered. Unless of course you take it to a veterinarian who can read that information from the animal’s subcutaneous microchip.

So why do I need to register with the city if my cat is chipped already? Not to have him returned to me. Oh, and the annual fee has gone up, no longer will neutered and unneutered pets be charged different rates. That I think was supposed to be about fairness, but it looks to me more like it is to make the bureaucratic life easier. Or maybe, since no animals were ever inspected, everyone just paid the lesser neutered fee and the city wants more money.

So why am I expected to pay the city an annual fee to return my dead cat to me? Okay, that may be asking too much, but it is a valid question. When Marshall was alive he was never outdoors except in his cat carrier for trips to the vet. I’d be quite happy to pay double the licensing fee for the return of my cat should he stray. Make it a user pay system; that seems much fairer to me. My guess is Ottawa, with a million residents, probably has 100,000 cats. That means pet owners have been asked for two million dollars in fees. I wonder how many cats the city returned to their owners last year, and what that cost. I suspect it probably wasn’t more than a couple of hundred animals, if that. And I’m sure it didn’t cost $2 million. You could fill a lot of potholes with that money – but Ottawa doesn’t seem to fill its potholes either.

I’m ignoring the letter from the city. If they had included a stamped envelope with their request for money I would have sent it back with “DECEASED” scrawled on the form. But having spent hundreds of dollars trying to save Marshall’s life I don’t see why I should be spending even a dollar postage on him after his death. The care and feeding of bureaucrats is not my responsibility.

I suppose they might send an inspector around demanding cash for Marshall. For all I know there are penalties for not licensing a dead cat. Gotta provide jobs for the by-law enforcement officers. If one does show up at the door I’ll give them the link to this post and send them on their way.


One comment

  1. Nicely written

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