You can't just go around feeding groups of stray cats in Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis City Council Friday passed an ordinance requiring residents who care for colonies of the cats to register with a sponsoring agency. If you feed the cats, you will now have to make sure they are vaccinated, neutered and implanted with a microchip.
Using the law to control feral cats is better than killing them, which is what some residents recommended, council member Lisa Goodman said.
"It's just heartbreaking to me," she said of killing cats. "Who would do that work? Whose job is it going to be to round up cats in the city and one by one, euthanize them? That is not the role of government in this community and that is not the kind of government that we want to be."
Some critics of the ordinance say more needs to be done to prevent stray cats from killing birds and other small animals.
Council member Sandy Colvin Roy reluctantly voted in favor of the measure.
She tried but failed to pass an amendment that would have required feral cat caretakers to get the approval of neighbors before they could register their colonies. Several council members, though, said that amendment would have killed the whole ordinance.
Colvin Roy says she sympathizes with bird enthusiasts who complain the new ordinance doesn't do enough to control predatory free-roaming cats.
City officials say trapping, neutering and releasing feral cats is the best way to reduce their population.