Cat Licensing FAQ's

Why is the City making us license our cats?

Municipal law requires that all cats over the age of four months be licensed as a rabies control measure. Making sure your pet has its current license attached to its collar also is your best insurance of having your pet returned to you in case he or she becomes lost or gets out of your yard. The pet license also lets us know if your pet is currently vaccinated against rabies. The money received from pet license fees helps the department continue to provide quality animal care and control services 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Effective Friday July 16th, 2010, all cats within the City of Long Beach are required to have an ANNUAL (12 Month) license, including permanent tag and/or microchip.

How much does a license cost?

The ANNUAL license cost for an altered cat is $10.00. Cat licenses for senior citizens are $5.00. All cats are required to be spay or neutered.

Where can I get a license?

Currently, cat and dog owners may license their pets online at www.longbeach.gov/acs, or download the license application online at: http://www.longbeach.gov/acs/pet_license/default.asp, print, and mail the application to ACS with payment (currently, there is no fee for cats). Residents must include the current rabies certificate, proof of spay and neuter, and microchip (if applicable) to make the license current. The license will be considered temporary status until all documents are received.

Where can I get a rabies shot?

Currently, any state licensed veterinarian may give your cat an examination and rabies vaccinaiton.

Where can I get my cat spayed or neutered? What if I need assistance?

By municipal code, all cats are required to be spay or neutered. Contact a veterinarian regarding this procedure. Animal Care Services provides $30 spay/neuter discount vouchers. Vouchers are only good at local veterinary hospitals and clinics participating in the program. Availability and pricing will vary. Residents must first secure a voucher by contacting Animal Care Services and call ahead to participating veterinary clinic's for pricing and appointment information.

My cat is an indoor cat. Why do I have to get it licensed if it never goes outside?

Municipal law requires that every cat four months of age or older must have a current license tag fastened to its collar or microchip. Even pets that "never leave the house" or property have a way of getting out through accidentally open doors, gates, or windows. Also, a natural disaster like an earthquake or fire may cause your pet to flee the safety of your property. Having a pet license on its collar, and/or microchip, will help reunite your lost pet with you.

My cat is already microchipped, do I still need a license?

Yes, you still need your cat licensed. The microchip and its registration number act as substitutes for a permanent license tag like those given their canine friends.

How many cats are impounded at the Shelter each year?

ACS impounds approximately 6,000 cats every year. Without a license tag or microchip, many are never returned to their responsible owner.

My cat won't wear a collar. How do I get it to wear a license tag?

Unfortunately, some cats cannot tolerate wearing a collar. That is why Animal Care Services will accept a microchip in-lieu of a collar and license tag. When a cat ends up at shelter we will scan it for a microchip. Just remember to keep your details up-to-date so we can return her to you! In the City of Long Beach, responsible cat owners have the option of either a collar tag or microchip.

Why should my cat receive a rabies vaccination?

According to the California Health Department's Compendium of Rabies Control, Section B.4(e) "Cats are now the most frequently reported domestic rabid animals in the United States". "Feline rabies vacccination is strongly recommended for ALL cats". Feline licensing and identificaiton programs at the local level and use of triennial vaccines are strongly endorsed by the National Association of State Public Heath Veterinarians.

I heard rabies shots were bad for cats. Is this true?

All Vaccinations come with their own set of risks. The public health significance of rabies far outweighs the extremely low risk of a sarcoma developing at a vaccination site. Therefore, feline rabes immunization in California is strongly indicated and may be mandatory in the City of Long Beach.

How often do I need to get a rabies shot?


In the past, veterinarians prescribed annual vaccines. Now veterinarians may recommend that they be given every three years to cats at low risk. Researchers have found that vaccines often provide immunity far beyond one year, reducing the need for frequent revaccinations. Rabies vaccinations at certain intervals may be required by law. Your veterinarian must follow the law. However, you can ask your state licensed veterinarian about testing your cat's rabies antibodies. If the level is high enough, your veterinarian may formally file a written request for a one-year rabies vaccination deferment by completing the following form (FELINE ANTI-RABIES INOCULATION TEMPORARY DEFERMENT FORM) and submitting the completed form to Animal Care Services.

Who owns a cat when everyone is feeding it?

The Long Beach Municipal Code defines it in the following manner:

6.04.025 - Person responsible-Defined.

Whenever in this Title 6 of the Long Beach Municipal Code, the words "person responsible" are used, they shall mean any person owning, having a proprietary interest in harboring or having the care, charge, control, custody or possession of an animal.

It is no longer acceptable for cats to be considered items to be simply discarded with the assumption that "someone else will take care of it". Cats have value and anyone feeding (having the care) of a cat can be considered the Person Responsible. A Person Responsible will need to ensure cats are altered (pursuant to LBMC 6.16.085), vaccinated, and licensed.

What responsibility does someone have once they take a cat in or start feeding it?

(See answer above:)