15 Cat Laws Everyone Should Know

Are there laws specifically about cats? Yes, and most of them regard whether you can let your cat roam free, how to prove you own your cat, and what you are legally allowed to do about stray cats on your property. 

Do Cats Have A Legal Right To Roam?

There aren’t any statewide laws regarding free-roaming cats. Your city or county will have its laws about free-roaming cats, and some are strict enough that roaming could put your cat in a shelter or worse, would you disobey them. 

What Are The Most Common Laws On Cats?

The most common law regarding cats is that cats are by law the property of their owners. This law means if a cat is lost or wandered away from its owner, you are obligated to try returning them to its owner. Failing to look for their owner could be seen as theft. 

What Is The Law On Nuisance Cats?

There is no specific nuisance law regarding cats, but nuisance laws can be used for disputes and complaints should they arise. Owners of cats also have the standard law duty to ensure that their cats don’t cause damage to any property or anyone. 

Is There A Law Against Killing Cats?

All 50 states have laws that criminalize acts of cruelty towards animals. These laws protect all cats regardless of whether they are pets or strays from intentional acts of cruelty and violence. Intentionally killing a cat in California is considered a felony and can result in up to three years in prison. 

What Can I Do About My Neighbors Cat Legally?

The best course of action is to have a conversation with your neighbour about their cat. If nothing changes and you’re still having issues with their cat on your property, you should contact your local animal control office for advice. 

Who Owns A Cat Legally?

Ownership of a cat can and should be registered. There are legal fines if you fail to register your cat, so be sure to inquire about the laws in your area either through your vet or animal control office. After registration, the cat will be considered your property by law. 

What Happens If I Kill A Cat Accidentally?

If you are entirely without fault, you are unlikely to get into legal trouble for killing a cat.

If it results from hitting it with your car, you should consider calling the police to report hitting animals by a vehicle. You will want to remove the cat from a public place as it can attract scavengers which can cause traffic or press problems. 

How Do You Prove Ownership Of A Cat?

You should have registration paperwork that proves your ownership of your cat. You can also use veterinary paperwork, particularly proof of vaccines, to show how long you have cared for the cat. 

If you purchased the cat, you should have a sales receipt or bank statement that proves that you have made the purchase and when. 

Do You Have To Report Hitting A Cat?

There are certain states where it is required for you to report some animals when hit with a car, but cats are not one of them. Still, it is suggested that you do as leaving the cat out in the road can attract bigger animals which could cause further traffic issues. 

What Can I Do If My Neighbor Has Too Many Cats Legally?

According to the ASPCA, or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, whether you can take legal action against a neighbour you believe has too many cats will depend on how many they have and whether it qualifies as hoarding. 

Owning 15 to 20 cats is considered hoarding. If you believe that your neighbour is hoarding animals, you should contact your local animal control office and ask for their assistance. 

Can I Throw Neighbours Cat Poo Back Legally?

Whether this is a legal action will depend on the free-roaming cat laws in your state. If laws are prohibiting roaming cats, then there are better legal options you can take to prevent the problem from happening in the future. 

If cats are free to roam in your state, you can take little legal action. However, it is not littering since it is on private property. 

What Qualifies As Animal Neglect Legally And Which States Are Hardest On This?

Animal neglect is when an animal’s caregiver fails to provide sufficient food, water, and veterinary care for survival.

The top states with the strictest animal protection laws are Illinois, Oregon, Maine, Colorado and Massachusetts. They include laws in which vets must report any signs of animal neglect to law enforcement and pets removed from locked cars by law enforcement as it is a sign of neglect. 

Can You Kill A Cat If It Attacks You Legally?

Intentionally killing a cat is illegal in all states, so there are situations in which you can’t kill a cat even if it is attacking you or your pet. Should the cat accidentally die while you are trying to defend yourself, you might be able to avoid legal action if there is proof, it was accidental. 

Can I Steal My Neighbor’s Cat?

No, stealing your neighbour’s cat would be considered stealing their property and would be treated like you were stealing their wallet. Even if you find a stray cat, you are legally obligated to try every possible avenue to find its owner before you can begin the process of adoption and registration. 

How Do You Get Rid Of Unwanted Cats?

The best way to get rid of unwanted cats is to remove comforts such as shelter and food sources. Covering trash cans, not adding meat scraps to compost piles, and putting up fences to prevent them from getting under deck or sheds will keep them from coming back.

You can also use natural repellents like sprinklers, mothballs, citrus peels and ground coffee, which will scare the cats away to either avoid getting wet or to escape the smells they don’t like. 

If the problem continues, you should contact your local animal control office for further advice.