Overrun with stray cats and finally fed up, the German city of Bremen is proposing a law that would take drastic action against wayward felines. Anyone with an outdoor cat would be forced to pay to have it neutered. Bremen has good reason to worry: the city’s cat shelter used to look after around 120 cats at any one time, but now has 378 on its books and fears that number will soon reach 500. In addition, an estimated 1,000 cats roam the streets, threatening the local songbird population.
Bremen would be the latest in a number of small German towns which already advocate the compulsory neutering of stray felines, including Paderborn in North Rhine-Westphalia, which was home to 40,000 stray cats before it introduced forced castration three years ago. If the law is passed in Bremen, it could lead to nationwide legislation. Wolfgang Apel, chairman of the Bremen Animal Protection Society, said the government should take responsibility for the growing problem: “There are so many [cats] that the situation has got out of control,” he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “They are becoming a burden to the public.”