I just got my cat’s license renewal application in the mail. My community has some pretty rigorous and tightly enforced pet laws on the books (we even have a leash law for cats!). I have no desire to get on the wrong side of Animal Control so I’ll be sending in my $12, even though Vicky never leaves our house or yard.

To encourage recalcitrant owners, our Humane Society included a pamphlet outlining the benefits of pet licenses in their last newsletter. It reads in part:

By licensing your animal you’re providing them a ticket home; that round, silver tag is their voice should they become lost.

Our shelter is full of "indoor cats" that owners believe can’t or won’t go outside. However, accidents happen — an open door, a loud nose, or a critter outside may trigger your cat’s escape. A license is "insurance" your cat will come safely home.

If your pet is spayed or neutered, for only $1 per month you are helping our community stay safe. That small fee ensures your pet’s return, and minimizes fees if your cat comes to the shelter.

Only 18% of stray cats are returned home. Give your cat a ticket home — license your cat today.

Even if your pet does not become lost, license fees help in other ways. My local Humane Society uses them to:

  • Rehabilitate sick, injured, and homeless animals into healthy and happy family members.
  • Provide nourishment, exercise, and behavioral enrichment to the animals in their care.
  • Fund Animal Protection & Control investigations into animal cruelty and neglect, providing emergency assistance, and upholding public safety.
  • Provide routine veterinary procedures for the homeless animals that need it most.

Here’s one of the Larimer Humane Society’s success stories.

Slinky didn’t move. She sat in the middle of the courtyard despite cars rushing by and other animals sniffing around. She was completely abandoned. Left in the fenced yard outside the Larimer Humane Society administrative offices with a collar and leash, it was as if her owners had driven up, told her to “sit and stay,” and sped away without looking back. If they had looked back, they would’ve seen a heartbroken and confused dog sitting patiently and still as minutes turned into hours. When she was discovered by a staff member, Slinky began nervously pacing the yard, sniffing every corner, trying to figure out where her family had gone.

No wonder Slinky became one of the most difficult behavioral cases we’ve seen. She was terrified of people, unsure of new places, and she tried to be as tough as possible to keep anyone from getting too close. But our Behavior & Enrichment staff knew better. They knew Slinky would come around if they could build her trust. So they did. Staff took turns and kept her with them for 26 days and helped her to trust again. As she began to let her guard down, her true personality started to shine through. Before they knew it, they were sending Slinky home to her new family.

Is your pet licensed?

Dr. Jennifer Coates

Image: Blaze986 / via Shutterstock