A controversial law, which would have banned cat owners from allowing their feline friends from freely roaming the town of Akureyri at night has been revoked, RÚV reports. The ban, which would have gone into effect on January 1, 2025, was initially proposed as a total ban on free-roaming cats, but was later ammended so it would only be in effect at night.
The majority of the Akureyri town council has now voted to drop the ban all together. The decision will be discussed in more detail at a council meeting later in the week. “The rules aren’t changing at all,” said town council president Heimir Örn Árnason during a radio interview on Friday. “The matter’s been shelved for now.”
Cat ban protest party ran for town council last year
The planned ban had been extremely controversial since its initial proposal in 2021, with some opponents saying that the town of Akureyri had done nothing to enforce existing laws regarding outdoor cats or suggesting that it would be better to ban outdoor cats during bird nesting season. People also took issue with the law having no grandfather clause that would have allowed current pet cats to live out the rest of their days as free-roaming cats on the prowl. And cats that couldn’t adjust to being indoors full-time risked being abandoned by their owners, argued volunteers at Akureyri’s Kisukot cat shelter.
The ban was so controversial that a whole new political party, Kattaframboðið, informally known as ‘The Cat Party’ in English, was formed around the issue. Kattaframboðið ran for Akureyri town council in 2022 with the express purpose of reversing the cat ban. The party did not win any seats, but it did secure 373 votes, or 4.1% of all votes that were cast in the election.