City of Princeton takes proactive measures against cat overpopulation


The city of Princeton passed an ordinance that aims to curb its stray cat overpopulation. This new law will limit the number of cats per household to four, and prohibits noisy or bothersome cats that cause destruction of property.

Princeton Animal Control Officer, Ty Smith, said a majority of the calls he receives are about cats.

“Seventy-five percent of the calls we get are for cats now and the reason we get those calls is there is so many of them. A lot of people tell me they had four cats a year ago and now they’re feeding 15, and they want me to trap them and take them off. That is not responsible pet ownership,” said Smith.

This ordinance also requires all cats to be vaccinated. Smith claimed this clause will help cut down the growing cases of rabies found in cats.

“In the United States, for every one dog that has rabies, five cats have rabies,” explained Smith.

 Smith assured that he will not be going door-to-door to enforce this code, but he will investigate any complaint he receives.

“I’ve never just gone out and picked up any cat. The cats I pick up, people call me and ask me to pick the cats up. In other words, the cats are on their property, they’re having trouble with them,” Smith said

The City of Princeton has similar laws in place for dogs in the city. Smith explained this cat ordinance mimics the language of the ordinance on dogs.

“If someone’s dog is being destructive to the neighbor’s property, then I get a call. It should be the same for cats too,” explained Smith. 

Smith said the ultimate goal of this new ordinance is to lower the amount of stray cats and push residents to be better pet owners. 

“This is not about limiting cats, its about making responsible pet owners,” said Smith. 

Other cities in West Virginia have similar laws. Princeton is also looking for ways to raise money to help people pay for their pets to be spayed or neutered. Smith stated that he is open to any suggestions on how to tackle this cat overpopulation.

“If there are organizations out there that have ideas or know where we can get funding to help spay and neuter cats, I’m all for it,” Smith stated.

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