Cats May Soon Have Curfews in Iceland

Cat owners who have indoor/outdoor cats know that their cats are out there carousing all night, thinking they’re doing them a favor by bringing back a dead — or worse, half dead — mouse at the crack of dawn. They might have tried to enforce a curfew, but it’s likely their cats just laughed at them and went out to rumble with their friends and enemies alike. For the residents of Akureyri, Iceland, have decided enough is enough and have instituted cat curfews. Beginning in 2023, the small town of 19,000 will require that cats stay indoors from midnight to 7 a.m. It’s been the hottest battleground, with an opposition party that supports the free movement of cats. The cat curfew people cite two main reasons for keeping the roving felines inside at night: (1) they kill a lot of wildlife, and (2) they’re a nuisance. The truth is, free-ranging cats have caused or contributed to 33 bird, mammal and reptile extinctions. That’s a pretty compelling reason to impose a curfew. In addition, people complain that cats spray urine on their patio furniture, trample their flowerbeds, and often engage in loud fighting in the middle of the night. Opponents of the curfew, however, point out that cats don’t often range any farther than their own yard — maybe the neighbor's once in a while — and are being blamed for something that wild cats are actually doing. In addition, they say it’s cruel to force a cat that’s been allowed outside to become an inside only cat. Cat supporters are so adamant that they've even threatened to boycott the famous dairy products from the town. In the end, it seems like responsible pet ownership may be the answer. There are currently approximately 200 cats that are registered, but it's clear that there are up to 3,000 cats living in the area.