The 20 Strangest Cat Laws In The World

Most of us try our very best to uphold the law and avoid getting ourselves into trouble. The problem for cat owners is that felines can’t read and they don’t really understand some of the crazy and sometimes absurd laws that are still on the books regarding cats. They don’t realize that they could get their owners in trouble, so they just do, what cats do. We’ve found twenty of the strangest cat laws in the world to share with you.

1. Keep it down after nine in Georgia

If your cat is a singer, then he could get you into trouble if you live in the city of Columbus, Georgia. There is really a law on the books that states that there is no “yowling” allowed by cats after 9:00 p.m. We’re reasonably sure that this means it’s up to the owners to keep them quiet in the evenings, but come on…if your cat is a big talker, how in the world are you going to convince them to be quiet until sunrise? Hmmm… it seems that the folks that drafted this silly law are forgetting that cats are nocturnal creatures. They’re more apt to “yowl” after nine than at any other time of the day. On the other hand, this law does give the neighbors some clout if your cat is keeping the awake until all hours of the morning. Perhaps the law is intended to protect people from noisy animals.

2. Dress code in Indiana

There is a law in French Lick Springs, Indiana that states, “all black cats wear bells on Friday the 13th.” This is perhaps the most bizarre law that we’ve heard yet. It’s not that difficult to figure out that there is a strong connection between black cats and Friday the 13th, but are they living in modern times, or have they forgotten to revise their law books? When a town puts such a law into the books it makes the rest of us think that they must be so superstitious that they are willing to threaten people with breaking the law if they don’t properly attire their cats for the ominous day. Do the bells ward off evil spirits?

3. Watch out for dangerous cats in Hungary

The city of Lorinc in the country of Hungary has a law that states “cats can only be taken on to the street on leads.” So, in other words, all cat owners must leash their cats or keep them off of the streets. The city officials have offered a good explanation for the law though. They believe that this strict measure is needed to protect the people who are out in public from “the dangerous menace of free range cats.” We didn’t realize that the cats of Hungary were so vicious. Are we talking about domesticated cats here or are they wildcats who are attacking the villagers? There must have been a precedent set by a mean cat that tore somebody up in the past. Why else would they go so far as to make such a stringent law?

4. Custody battles are fought over cats in Wisconsin

Some people may end up staying together for the sake of the cat in Wisconsin. We swear with our right hands raised and the other on the bible that this is true. When couples divorce in Madison, Wisconsin, they cannot share joint custody of their beloved pet. The courts award full custody to the pet parent who is in possession of the kitty at the time that the initial separation occurs. If you’re planning to leave your spouse and you want to take the cat, you have to take it with you or forfeit all visitation rights. This leads us to believe that there have been a few nasty battles over the family pet and that the court wanted to avoid spending the extra squabbling time in court by just making the law. This is a law that is worth knowing before you make the big move.

5. Cats need to stop picking on dogs in Minnesota

This is one of the most backwards laws that we’ve heard yet. In International Falls, Minnesota, the law states that “cats are not allowed to chase dogs up telephone poles.” Is it even possible for a dog to run up a telephone pole? Are the cats in Minnesota meaner and more frightening that the cats in other states? This seems highly unlikely and it’s more likely that this is little more than a typo made by the staff of the courthouse, but you never know. Somebody seriously needs to ask for clarification of this law. While it’s written in plain English, don’t they have it backwards? We thought it was the dog that chased the cat up the telephone pole. Is it okay for a dog to chase a kitty up a pole?

6. Cat fighting is illegal in North Carolina

There is a statute in Barber, North Carolina that strictly prohibits fights between cats and dogs. We’re not sure why anyone would even need to write this one down. Dogs and cats are natural enemies in some cases and yes, they’re going to fight. Sometimes the cat picks the fight, but it’s usually the other way around. So if a dog picks on a cat, and the cat fights back, what is going to happen? Will the owner get a fine? Does a barking and hissing match count as a fight or do they need to bite or claw? We need a little more to go on here. Perhaps the legal wording needs to go into greater detail and definition. It’s fairly obvious that there must have been an issue that involved a cat doing some pretty major damage to a dog at some point.

7. Don’t forget your cats’ taillight.

Anyone who owns a pet cat is supposed to buy a taillight for them. That is if they live in Sterling, Colorado. The law states that pet cats are not allowed to run loose without a taillight in town. This law sounds terribly absurd, but we can understand that if a kitty gets out of the house and runs down the road at night, he or she will be much easier to see if they are wearing a taillight. It might help to save their lives even! The same law is on record in Berea, Ohio so it must be a popular trend in making cats safer when they are out in public. This rather bizarre law has made us wonder how in the world to you attach a taillight to your cat anyway? Does it come on a little harness or does it attach to the tail?

8. No mating without a permit in California

Okay, so this is a real law that is on the books in Ventura County, California. It is not legal for your cat to have sex unless he or she has a permit. Gee, does this mean that they can’t have sex in their own home without a permit? What if your kitty gets raped? There are so many unanswered questions. There is to be no unauthorized breeding within the county is the meaning that we’ve derived. Well, it’s a great way for the county to bring in some extra funding to deal with all of the strays. We’re not totally sure if this is to encourage owners to get their pets spayed or neutered, to lower to incidence of feral cats, or if it’s a moral thing because nobody wants to see it happen.

9. Cats are treated like predators in New Jersey

There is a law in Cresskill, New Jersey that states that cats “must wear three bells to warn birds of their whereabouts.” It seems like Cresskill has a body of real bird lovers on the city council. This sounds like the equivalent of having sex offenders go door to door and warn neighbors that they live nearby. We’re wondering if they have a few birds that are on the endangered species list in the city. It’s a good idea maybe, but to make this a law?

10. Minnesota has taken the cake with this feline law

It is illegal for cats to fall asleep in a bakery in Duluth, Minnesota. Common sense would dictate that it would be better for them to be sleeping than to be prowling around and getting into the food. The way the law is written, it’s okay for them to watch the bakers work and to walk around checking things out. It’s when they fall asleep that the problems begin.

11. Attention all cats!!! No public mating!!!

The state of California has placed a ban on all cat mating near schools, taverns or places of worship. They won’t get in trouble as long as they get together at least 1,500 feet from these establishments. We could maybe see the reasoning behind this law for moral purposes with the schools and churches, but taverns? Really?

12. Cats can’t smoke with their owners in Illinois

There is a law on record in Zion, Illinois that states that it is illegal for any person to light a cigar and give it to a cat. The statute is there to protect cats from human cruelty and we’re pretty sure that at some point in time, there was somebody who actually must have done this. The law goes further to include supplying alcohol as well. We’ll stand behind this law because people who feed their cats tobacco or alcohol are endangering the health and lives of their pets.

cats can get the flu

13. Topeka, Kansas limits the number of cats you can have

In this city, the law states that pet owners may not “own more than five cats at a time.” While this may be a good law to protect the health of the occupants and the cats from overcrowding, it’s a tough one to enforce. One pregnant female can deliver more than four kittens in a single litter. We wonder what they do when a cat has a large litter. Do newborns count as cats or are owners given a set time limit for giving them away? So much for running a registered business selling cats in Topeka.

petting cats

14. No cats and birds allowed in the same home in Michigan

There is a law in Reed City, Michigan that clearly states that residents may not keep a pet bird and a pet cat “on the same premises.” While cats do love to eat birds, there are many successful pet owners who don’t seem to have an issue with the combination that they’ve had for years. We suppose that if a man and woman get engaged in Reed City, and one has a cat, and the other a bird, they can’t each keep their pets and live in the city.

Reasons we are thankful for our cats

15. Hey, dogcatchers…leave them cats alone!

There is a law in the state of Virginia that prohibits dogcatchers from “bothering cats” while they are looking for dogs. It’s hard to imagine why a dogcatcher would want to “bother” a cat, but there must be some reason why this law was enacted. We just don’t know what it is yet.

Reasons we are thankful for our cats

16. No trespassing felines in Maryland

A law was passed in Montgomery County, Maryland in 1999. It’s a public nuisance law that carries some rather serious consequences. Any cat owner who lets their cat wander onto somebody else’s property, and doesn’t have that person’s permission faces the possibility of a $100 fine if the person files a complaint. This is what it will cost them for the fist offense. The fines go up with subsequent offenses costing them up to five hundred dollars for each occurrence. This could get really expensive if you have a curious cat, or god forbid, several curious cats. It’s tough to keep a feline from wandering into a neighbor’s yard, so it would be very difficult, and possibly very expensive to live in this particular country.

Cats that love to cuddle

17. Courts in the United States had a battle over the “intrinsic value” of cats

The Thurston v Carter 92 A. 295 case in Me of 1914 ruled that cats were considered to be domestic animals which were “covered by statutes protecting domesticated animals.” This was great, but a later case (Commonwealth v Massini 188 1. 2d 816 in the Superior court of Pa in 1963, went the other way. This court ruled that cats really are not considered to be a “domestic animal” by definition. It further ruled that cats have “no intrinsic value in the eyes of the law.” This is how felines have been treated by the courts of the land historically in America.

18. Cats need a business license to perform in Augusta, Georgia

This case went a long way in setting a legal precedent for talented cats who earn a living by being street performers. It seems that they have to pay their share of the taxes as well as anyone else. The case of Blackie The Talking Cat dealt with a plaintiff that was seeking damages from the Augusta police for insisting that he obtain a business license for his cat so he could perform on the streets with the animal. The courts ruled against the plaintiff and declared that he would in fact need to get a business license in order to perform on the streets with the cat. Notice to all cat performers in Augusta… You need to do the paperwork before you sing on the street corner. Well, maybe it would be okay if the cat doesn’t put a tip jar out.

19. Cats are considered to be the legal property of owners

There were multiple cases dealing with the rights of pet owners to recover their possession of cats as valued property. The courts also established the legal decision that cats also may have monetary worth as well as emotional worth. This set quite a precedent that would allow cat owners to sue in cases where their animals were harmed by practices at veterinary clinics or by other persons or animals who caused their harm or their death. In some cases, owners were awarded punitive damages for mental anguish that they suffered when their cats were maliciously or intentionally killed. Taking a cat without the permission of the owner in some cases may be ruled as grand theft.

20. Texas is tough on cat abusers

This state has established its love for cats and its willingness to protect the rights of felines from cruelty. An appellant was convicted of committing cruelty to two cats after poisoning and microwaving them, and appealed to a higher court. The Texas Court of Appeals upheld the ruling of the lower court and established itself as a state that will punish all offenders within the limits of the law. While the laws themselves are not strange, the behaviors of the criminal that committed the offenses certainly were. This is a case that made many people who were aware of the proceedings believe that the offender was in dire need of mental health evaluation and treatment for his behaviors. This is perhaps one of the most bizarre cases on the record.

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