Many years ago, I dated a woman who help feed a “colony’ of feral cats. She would set food out in a half dozen containers and the cats would come out of the woods to eat. I had never seen this before close up, and it was an odd experience. She bought about fifty pounds of cat food a month, and tried to recuse the kittens that lived in the colony, but most of them had feline leukemia. She and I disagreed in regard to feeding feral cats, and in the end, that was one of the differences we couldn’t get past.
There’s places in Australia were a bounty on feral cats has been issued, much to the dismay of those people who feed them, and honestly, I can see where having someone out there killing cats is going to cause some serious emotional distress among cat advocates. But the damage done to native populations of birds is horrific.
Those groups in favor or culling feral cats include bird watchers, herpetology groups, and advocates for native small mammals. The “oh gosh they are so cute” groups are losing the fight in Australia, and unless the cat advocates in the States can figure out what to do and how to do it, feral culls in America will become the new normal.
That brings us to the advocates of Trap-Neuter-Return, or TNR, whose proponents swear is the way to go. Trap-Neuter-Return
The idea behind TNR is to break the breeding cycle of feral cats, and therefore reducing the population. If pursued diligently, it would work, as long as there’s no new cats being dumped by careless owners, which is the real issue behind any stray pet problem.
In dog rescue, the local pound here euthanizes, on average, five or six dogs a day. Puppies and cute dogs get to go into the adoption area, and dogs deemed too anything to be adopted are not.
In defense of the TNR programs, the pound has been putting dogs down for decades without putting a real stop to stray dogs. Any dogs that go into rescue are neutered, but we still do not run out of strays.
My biggest fear in the “Kill Them All” pogrom, especially if there is money involved, is hunters will seek out pet cats and take them, too, and no cat will be safe. Worse, this sort of mindset will no doubt lead cruel people to begin their own killing sprees in a manner that is inhumane and reckless.
In the meanwhile, millions of native birds, reptiles, and small mammals die under the claws of feral cats. People unwittingly help spread disease by dumping cats, and feeding feral colonies.
I fear if we do not put forth the effort to somehow stop feral cats from breeding, we will live to see a day where cats are considered fair game by anyone who wants to kill them.
As a society, we cannot abandon compassion in order to save money on programs that do not include killing animals that humans are ultimately responsible for.
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.