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Pet Regulation: Are There Dangerous Cat Laws?

Dangerous dog laws have become common, which raises an obvious question. What about cats?

Felines are basically little vampires who scratch stuff, apart from sucking blood. Why seemingly so little concern for them in the law? Do cat people have connects that make their pets exempt from regulation? We turned to the experts at the Animal Legal and Historical Center of Michigan State University to find out more.

Legislative Findings

States do have laws about spraying and neutering animals and cats are definitely included. According to the Center's legal database, there are laws regarding kittens and cats. That said, the perceived danger having to do with these seems to be breeding.

California, for example, requires all animal shelters to sterilize felines before allowing their adoption. The state legislature has also made certain important feline findings, such as:

  1. Domestic cats' temperaments range from completely docile indoor pets to completely unsocialized outdoor cats that avoid all contact with humans.
  2. "Feral cats" are cats with temperaments that are completely unsocialized, although frightened or injured tame pet cats may appear to be feral.
  3. Some people care for or own feral cats.
  4. Feral cats pose particular safety hazards for shelter employees.

The findings actually go on some. But what it all amounts to is permission in this statute to euthanize feral cats without waiting through the holding period prescribed for domestic animals.

When a Cat Attacks

Just because there do not appear to be any explicit dangerous cat laws out there, does not mean we have no means to deal with a ferocious feline. All localities have regulations that control pets, outlining which animals qualify as domestic and which are wild or exotic, and specifying punishments for pets that are not properly controlled.

Neighbors do call animal control to handle squabbles about pets. But scratching cats, while common, are less likely to end up in court, charged as dangerous animals by the authorities.

Still, if you get attacked by your neighbor's cat, there is recourse. If a domestic cat causes injury and damages, the owner can be sued for negligence.

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