From Iceland — Optimistic That Outdoor Cat Ban Will Be Withdrawn

Optimistic That Outdoor Cat Ban Will Be Withdrawn

Published March 23, 2022

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

A member of Akureyri town council is optimistic that a ban on outdoor cats that passed last winter will be withdrawn, RÚV reports.

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As reported, the proposed ban has received objections from the Veterinary Society of Iceland, who contend that holding cats indoors can lead to physical and psychological problems for cats. To protect bird life from cats, they recommend putting bells on cat collars, having them wear large, brightly coloured collars, and limiting cats’ outdoor times during nesting season instead of an outright ban.

Furthermore, recent polling shows that the majority of Icelanders support allowing cats to wander outside. A more recent poll, which focused on Akureyri residents, showed that 39% supported the ban to some extent, with 46% opposed to it, and 16% with no opinion on the matter.

Ultimately, the measure was passed, seven votes to four, and is to go into effect on January 1st 2025. Sóley Björk Stefánsdóttir, a town councilperson who opposed the ban, told reporters that the matter should soon be taken up again and re-examined. She expressed optimism that the cat ban will be withdrawn.

“I’m an optimistic woman by nature,” she said. “The subject of pet ownership, and cat ownership in particular, has been ill-handled in Akureyri and needs to be handled better. The system itself could also stand to be improved before we reach for such drastic measures [as the outdoor cat ban].”

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