The Los Angeles City Council took a major step today toward allowing households to keep as many as five cats, up from the current limit of three.
Los Angeles households are currently only allowed to keep a maximum of three spayed or neutered felines, whether indoor or outdoor. The City Council directed city attorneys to draft an ordinance in which households would be able to keep up to five spayed or neutered cats, all indoors.
The motion also directs that any required environmental impact study be done, which Councilman Paul Koretz said is a precaution against any lawsuits from groups that have successfully sued the city on its cat-related policy in the past.
An earlier policy to trap, spay or neuter, then release feral cats — as a way to control the feline population and avoid euthanizations — was struck down in court, Koretz said. The group that sued alleged the policy would endanger the city’s bird population.
Koretz said the increase of two cats per household should be non- controversial, compared to an earlier proposal that would have allowed households to keep an unlimited number of cats as long as annual inspections are done.
Animal Services officials say the proposed change is aimed at lowering the number of shelter cats that are euthanized, with felines often at greater risk than dogs of being put down.
Other municipalities have higher caps on cat ownership or none at all, according to Animal Services officials. San Diego does not limit the number of felines, and Santa Monica has no limit on cats kept indoors.