A Kentucky Town Makes Residents Leash Their Cats


The town of Goshen, Kentucky, population 950, recently passed a rather intriguing ordinance: All cats must be “under owner’s control with a leash” if taken off the owner’s property.

In Goshen, you have to leash your cat.

Mayor Bob Thacker, however, said he has no plans to leash his cat, because he’ll never take his cat for a walk.

“Boottie would never go for a walk,” he told the Courier Journal.

“I can only imagine trying to put my cat on a leash and a harness. I’d have a better chance with a rope and duct tape,” he said to WLKY.

The mayor said the ordinance is an attempt to get people to keep their cats from roaming the streets. It’s the result of “some people” (he doesn’t name names) who approached him about cats digging up gardens and defecating in yards.

For its part, Oldham County Animal Control is refusing to play ball, because the new rule is not a county ordinance. It won’t go after your cat.

“We have enough trouble catching dogs and horses,” said director Barbara Rosenman. “I don’t think we can catch cats. They’re just a little too zippy and agile.”

She also tsk-tsked the measure.

“People just need to be tolerant. Your average cat is a small quiet solitary animal, it’s not a public safety threat,” she told WDRB News.

Thacker, too, isn’t planning on fining anybody.

“It’s our attempt if the resident keeps their cat at home and their cat darts out of the house, and another resident sees that cat running around, hopefully they’ll get that cat to its rightful owner,” he said.

Still, the population (950) is rattled.

“I think it’s really stupid. I mean, we’ve got a lot bigger problems in the world than cats,” said one resident, according to WDRB.

“I think you ought to ask the cats, because I don’t think cats want to be leashed, OK? Really,” said Carl Sievert, according to WLKY.

Obviously, there is a lot of fear and confusion over the ordinance. Let’s see if we can clear that up with the Catster FAQ concerning the great cat-leash ordinance of Goshen, 2014.

The Catster FAQ concerning the great cat-leash ordinance of Goshen, 2014

Do I have to walk my cat?


Will anyone force me to walk my cat?

No. Are you the one leaving all those voice messages?

What if my cat stands stock still, yowling, and refuses to budge from the yard, no matter how much I want to walk him to the malt shop?

If you’re are still on your property, you do not need a leash. But we recommend you go inside right away.

What if the cat is not so much walking as lurching as I drag him down the street to the malt shop?

Yes, you still need a leash, but first you need to immediately go home and drop off your cat.

What if my cat has latched onto me, burying his claws into my thighs for the remainder of the walk — technically, wouldn’t I be carrying the cat?

Perhaps so, but a leash is sill needed, and so is a visit to the medicine cabinet. Are you at the malt shop?

Can I walk my neighbor’s cat without her knowledge?

No. Why would you do that?

It’s a nice looking cat.

Stay on your side of the fence.

I’m thinking about jogging with my cat.

Good for you.

Can you recommend some good cat sneakers?


What if my cat is just following me down the street?

Are you leaving a trail of cookies again, Madge?

No. Maybe.

Put your cat in your house, Madge.

Can you recommend a decent cat leash.


Can I use a garden hose as a cat leash?


Can I use a heavy-gauge chain as a cat leash?


Can I use your necktie as a cat leash?


I’ve trained my cat to walk, and to heel on command. Do I still need a leash?


Oh, come on — do you know how many years it took me to do that?

FINE. Just keep her out of the sight of the mayor.

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