The proposal to license cats landed with the thud of a 20-pound bag of kitty litter when Darius G. Pridgen first suggested it publicly a year and a half ago.
The responses ran the gamut from constituents begging the Ellicott District Council member not to push for cat licenses to threats from angry cat owners.
Since then, Pridgen, now Council president, has charmed cat advocates by allowing them to figure out how to control the number of cats who roam city neighborhoods.
The advocates were so pleased with their progress that Tuesday they brought Putskins, a large white housecat, to Council Chambers.
Lawmakers approved a city ordinance encouraging people to trap, neuter, vaccinate and return cats that roam freely.
The ordinance, largely non-binding, encourages shelters to return cats that have been sterilized to where they were found.
“It’s very important to us that these cats are taken, fixed and put back where they are,” said Arthur J. Robinson Jr., co-chairman of the city’s Cat Task Force.
Putskins, owned by Robinson’s grandchild, sat quietly in his cage as lawmakers and task force members congratulated themselves.
Barbara S. Carr, executive director of the SPCA Serving Erie County, thanked lawmakers for seeing that “compassion and kindness is the way of the future.”
The ordinance was drafted by a group of University at Buffalo law students and their professor, Kim Connolly.
The ordinance’s supporters say the measure will help control the cat population while allowing cats to be left alone in the wild.
The city has budgeted $50,000 for efforts to trap, neuter, vaccinate and return cats to where they were found.
In other business Tuesday:
• A vote on a measure to designate three properties in the Fruit Belt as a historic district was delayed by two weeks.
Pridgen said the Brown administration is working with St. John Fruit Belt Community Development Corp. on its plans to build a deli and pharmacy on the site of a Civil War-era house.
The corporation’s current plan calls for demolition of the house to make way for the new business, which would offer fresh produce and other amenities.
• North Council Member Joseph Golombek, as he does every year, introduced a resolution urging the State Legislature to move school board elections from May to November.