Cats in the new Barcelona Animal Protection ordinance

The new Barcelona “Animal Protection Ordinance” came into force on the first of October 2014. It is the result of several months of hard work between all stakeholders involved in animals’ protection issues. During this participative process in which the municipality, animal protection NGOs, veterinarians and pet shops representatives were involved, several meetings were held, and several draft proposals presented before the final version was agreed.

The ordinance contains significant points related to feral cats, all of them hugely relevant for their protection:

– Article 2.9 (definitions): the existence of feral and stray cats is officially acknowledged for the first time. They were considered as abandoned animals in the previous ordinance.

– Article 27: It is permitted to feed community cats respecting best practices agreed with the NGOs (dry food and water only). This was already the case in the previous ordinance, but without mentioning best practices.

– Article 28: Managed colonies are considered the only model to manage the community cats’ population in the city, whereas they were considered as an “alternative to killing” in the previous ordinance. Although since 2009 an official neutering program (based on TNR) is in place, the no-kill policy was not included in the previous ordinance.

The new municipal ordinance is a framework which should last the years to come, as the previous one remained in force for over 10 years (2003-2014). It is the legal consolidation of a model which is considered satisfactory by all parts involved. For this reason all cat protection NGOs are celebrating it as a huge step forward which is making Barcelona a more “animal friendly” city.