A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE – Nov. 21 — How to lobby City Hall

How the Village of Midway came to have a limit of six cats per household.

“Real love stories don’t have endings.” — Gregory J.P. Godek

A couple of years ago I sat at a Midway council meeting listening to Councillor Rotvold give her report when she said she’d been hearing complaints about the number of cats running free in the village and something had to be done about it.

After a brief discussion it was agreed that staff would be directed to prepare the necessary paperwork and such so council could begin a review of the animal control bylaw.

That got my attention! I was nervous!

Special K and I had six cats at home at the time—three came from Boston, two were rescued and then we picked up the youngest, Christmas, who is aptly named because we had gone stupid while holding a fluffy kitten outside the 2010 Christmas craft fair in Rock Creek.

Whenever a council meeting is going on the people in the gallery are supposed to just sit there and keep quiet. So in the time between her report and the end of the meeting I had lots of time to think up some lovely little gems of wisdom and such that I felt council needed to hear on the subject.

As soon as the gavel hit the desk and the meeting ended I shot across the room right in Councillor Rotvolds’ face and started hysterically babbling on about how there was absolutely no way we were going to get rid of any of our cats – they were all fixed and had their shots – most of them stayed inside 24/7 and those that did go out didn’t have a reputation for wandering too far anyway.

My voice was raised – so although I was talking to one councillor in particular, everyone else in the room was in on the conversation too. To top off my performance I slammed the door on my way out. This required a humble apology on my part at the next meeting.

When Special K read the paper and found out about the review she wasn’t thrilled. I told her that I’d let council know our side of things.

Meanwhile council had passed that motion to review the bylaw.

Local government doesn’t move very fast—it took about four or five months before the amended bylaw made it back to the council table for a vote.

The revised document mentioned a few changes in relation to dogs – but the text on cats hadn’t been altered at all.

It looked like Special K and the six cats were in the clear.

But Mayor Kappes—in his attention to detail— pointed out that the bylaw revision had been triggered with that discussion about limiting the number of cats per household.

He said something like, “Since that is why we started this conversation, we should address it.” The mayor then turned to me and asked, “Pat, how many cats do you and Pam have?”

“Six,” I replied.

“Planning on getting anymore?”

“God, I hope not,” I said.

Kappes turned to the rest of council and asked, “Everybody okay with a limit of six cats?”

That saved my sorry behind—I did not want to go home and tell Special K we were over the cat limit. Note to council: the Kelly household is down to four cats now. If you have any inclination to shave a couple of points off that limit – now would be a good time to move on it.

Take care of someone who loves you …