People Who Feed Stray and Feral Cats Make Me Mad | Catster

Let Cooler Heads Prevail.

A photograph of a stray cat I have adopted.

A photograph of a stray cat I have adopted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A new post on Catster yesterday caused quite a stir! So, I would like to write a post that addresses points within that opinion piece and some of the comments that were posted regarding what had been written.

The article was intended to “encourage discussion” and it seems to have nearly incited tempers.

People Who Feed Stray and Feral Cats Make Me Mad | Catster.

“Without proper vetting, they were sickly and diseased and at risk for contracting and transmitting rabies. They were also anemic from being severely infested with fleas.”

Fleas and parasites can be treated with Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth. I just bought a 50lb bag of this for my home and for the stray cats that hang around outside. You can easily find it for sale online, just make sure you purchase or use the food grade only. It’s dust, so you need to make sure you apply it to the area carefully so the cats do not inhale it.

“Diatomaceous earth appeared to be more effective at reducing the numbers of fleas, possibly because fleas have smaller body size and so are more easily desiccated by the abrasive action of DE.” (Efficacy of diatomaceous earth at reducing populations of nest-dwelling ectoparasites in Tree Swallows: Russell D. Dawson: Journal of Field Ornithology2004 75 (3), 232-238 retrieved April 25, 2013 – from BioOne)

“Finally, under threat of citations, the woman consented to having the colony removed by animal control. Most of them were too wild and/or sick to ever be put up for adoption…

The No. 1 reason people give me when they feed these stray/feral cats is that they don’t want to see them go to the shelter because they “know what will happen there.”

This is certainly an understandable reaction of someone who loves cats and wants to take care of them. The reasoning is justifiable when you look at shelter statistics.

“For example, in 2010 California animal control shelters admitted 400,433 cats. Of these, 111,915 were released alive, and 276,052 were euthanized [9]. In many communities, euthanasia of dogs has decreased over the last decade, while euthanasia of cats has risen [9, 10, 11].”  (Maddie’s Fund – Feline Shelter Intake Reduction Program FAQs )

Our own animal control shelter significantly reduced the number of cats euthanized when they implemented a TNR program.

“Well, pardon me. I wasn’t aware that humane euthanasia, as awful as it may sound, was so horrible in comparison to adding to the population of intact, unvaccinated homeless cats”

Euthanasia is defined by Merriam Webster Online as “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy” Since most feral or stray cats are neither “hopelessly sick” nor “injured” when animal control becomes involved, they are not euthanized, they are simply killed, I will only pardon the author of the original once she’s read the American Veterinary Medical Association’s – Guidelines on Euthanasia (pages 43-47).

“…the average person feeding strays doesn’t have the monetary resources to cover spay/neuter and vaccines for every member of the colony.”

I know I don’t have all the resources or knowledge needed to successfully implement a large, ongoing TNR and community cat project. That’s why I network.  A search of Yahoo Groups using the search term resulted in 15,846 results. If one quarter of those groups are active on Yahoo, surely there must be someone who can help and advise. I found many knowledgeable and generous people simply by starting this blog.  Perhaps the author of the original opinion piece might search out some of the help available for the woman trying to take care of the 20 cats and reach out to her with that information.