How to deal with the feral cat problem?



The dilemma that is the US feral cat - the feral cat problem - is a mighty hard one to fix if you just look at it in the short-term and if you just focus on the cat. It is also hard to fix it if you are plain stupid!

I sense that there is a certain amount of unfocused and slightly desperate thinking going on which is throwing up bad decisions and unworkable ordinances. The intentions are often good - how to reduce the feral cat population humanely - but either city councils are paralyzed into indecision or they dive into decisions that are unpopular. There appears to be a sense of confusion too.

feral catIn North St. Paul, Minneapolis we have an obviously sensible and decent couple (Doug and Annette Edge) being accused by their local police chief, Capt. Dustin Nikituk, of breaking the law. He misguidedly says that they are breaking the law when they trap feral cats, take them to be sterilized and vaccinated before returning them (classic TNR). He says that they became "owners" of the cats and therefore need a license. And in owning cats they can't let them run around the neighborhood (i.e. on releasing the feral cats) so they have committed another offense. He is supported by "city officials".

The police and officials are being very foolish. It's a question of common sense, surely? This good couple, through their actions, are declaring that they have no intention to own the feral cats they assist. There have no desire to own these cats because they quickly return them to the wild. Their behavior in relation to the feral cats is not consistent with "ownership". Their actions are a temporary possession of the cats to assist in their welfare - no more. That is obvious.

The city officials and this stupid policeman are getting in the way of a free service that benefits the city. Wake up, please.

More confusion in Columbia. The city councilors want to do something about "the feral cat problem". They want to do something sensible. But they are considering introducing a law that will also stop volunteers providing a free service in trapping and neutering feral cats. This is because their regulations will prove to be too expensive for people to comply with.

City officials should leave good people alone to get on with mopping up the effects of poor cat ownership while introducing laws that encourage people to become better cat caretakers. This will eventually solve the dreaded feral cat problem in the very long term. This has to be a long term program.

[Picture: cute feral cat - photo by jdnx (Flickr)]

Michael signature

Comments

  1. Michael,
    Though I agree that certain laws are sometimes wrongly applied in outlawing TNR, I am surprised that you would call police officers stupid. It's not like you to resort to personal insults. When you have the facts on your side you don't need to resort to that.

    I would never call a police officer stupid. The same policeman you insult would not hesitate, in an instant, to put his/her life on the line for you. That's what our police officers do. They go in where any sane person would fear to tread and routinely deal with elements of human society most of us would not care to deal with.

    There was an officer shot to death in the line of duty in Kenosha, Wisconsin a few years ago. After his death it was revealed that earlier in his career he had been the first one on the scene of a fire and had pulled a little girl out of a burning building. That little girl is alive today because of him and came forward with her story after hearing of the officer's death. There was also a young sheriff's deputy from Waukesha, Wisconsin who suffered a traumatic brain injury after being hit by a car while aiding a stranded motorist on the freeway. I could list more and more examples. Every police officer, because of the nature of his/her job and the oath he/she has sworn to serve and protect might potentially give his/her life for you one day. It is inappropriate to personally insult such people. Valor like that doesn't exist everywhere in society, but it certainly exists in the police force of every town in every state in the USA. Some cops are better than others, but any one of them might be called upon one day to risk his/her life for you or me, and even the worst of them might make that ultimate sacrifice.

    The problem is the laws they are called upon to enforce. It is up to legislatures to make good laws. Legislators will do what they feel voters want done. The right thing is for citizens to write letters requesting legislation that will protect and help animals. I have been meaning to do this myself. I've felt like our governor has enough on his hands with budget woes, but it is important to communicate with members of government on these issues-- from alderpersons to senators, from mayors to governors. That is where change can happen. The police officers don't make the laws and can't pick and chose which to enforce. I'm sure they often don't like the position having to enforce stupid laws places them in.

    Put the adjective "stupid" in the right place-- on the foolish laws-- not on our valiant police officers, without whom civilized life would not be possible.
    Ruth

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  2. Hi Ruth, Thanks for the comment. I don't have the same respect for the police as you do it seems. There are many great policemen but there are also a lot of bad ones. That is certainly the case in the UK anyway. My personal experiences with police are not good.

    I did in fact change that sentence! Before you made your comment.

    This police officer though is behaving stupidly. It is not a case of misinterpreting the law. It is about common sense. He is causing a lot of upset for no good reason.

    I don't feel I am making a personal insult but more a straight forward common sense observation. There is a difference. My intention is not to insult but to make fair comment.

    I stand by my comment, I am afraid. We will have to agree to differ on this.

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  3. Michael,
    I did notice you softened your comments somewhat from your earlier post, and I appreciate that.

    The same laws existed in my area before TNR was made legal. Unless there is legislation in place exempting TNR programs from laws against abandoning pets/feeding wild animals the police have no choice but to enforce the existing laws. My guess is neighbors complained about the feral cat colony. The police chief likely is going to think about his chances of getting re-elected, so he does what it seems people want-- which was in line with current laws.

    He isn't stupid, just ignorant of the value of TNR programs. Many people are. They think killing cats is the only way, when in reality it creates a vacuum effect and things don't improve whereas a stable cat colony is much better. A person unaware of studies proving the effectiveness of TNR is not stupid or acting stupidly. Ignorance is not the same as stupidity. This is where we can help-- by being informed and informing our law makers. Without knowledge about TNR the police officer in question did the only thing he could do in response to complaints: enforce the existing laws. TNR is not a legal option everywhere. The police are not the problem, the lack of laws supporting animal welfare is the real problem. A lack of knowledge of the best way to promote animal welfare is at the heart of the issue.

    I don't know what it takes to become a police officer in the UK, but where I live there is a requirement to obtain a four year college degree in order to serve in most departments. These aren't stupid men and women, they are the best and brightest among us-- friends, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, mothers and fathers-- members of our community who step up to the plate and do a job most of us wouldn't want and couldn't cope with. Most of the time our officers exhibit a high degree of professionalism. Thanks to the reckless drivers on our freeways every traffic stop is a huge risk to them-- but I know if they weren't out there our highways would be much deadlier.

    I do have a problem with law enforcement becoming a source of revenue generation-- writing tickets to make money for government. Milwaukee does that with parking enforcement. Our former sheriff did it with speed traps.

    But when we have good, sensible leadership in law enforcement, such as we have with Sheriff David Clarke here in Milwaukee County, we should get behind those people and support them in the difficult and dangerous work they do. The urban area in which I live has real crime problems-- problems with gangs, drugs and guns. There are a lot of instances recently of people being beaten up, even killed by gangs of youths who just targeted them for no reason and beat the crap out of them. It happens in our parks, on our city busses and in neighborhoods that seem "nice." This violence affects both humans and animals. There was a story recently about a family's dog being stolen and tortured, burned and beaten by a gang of children. The police can't solve all of society's problems-- perhaps you are expecting too much of them. But for me, where I live, thank God they are there.
    Ruth

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  4. I think when you really know a lot about something, any topic, it's hard to understand that there are people who don't know about it. It's easy to see them as stupid, because the truth is so simple once you understand it. Visitors to this site understand TNR and why it works. We know all about it to the point that people who don't know what we know appear stupid, because their actions are so often counterproductive. But they need it explained. It's the same with my being a musician or my husband a pyrotechnician. We know our disciplines very, very well and it's easy to forget others don't know what we know. (Until their eyes glaze over during the conversation because they have no idea what we just said.) In that situation no harm is done, but when it comes to TNR and declawing leaving people ignorant of the truth is simply not an option anymore.

    PoC does a great job of informing people about things like TNR and the evils of declawing-- but to most people out there-- even ones living with pets-- this is new information. It was new to me just a couple of years ago. This is why it is time to write those letters to my governor and legislators.
    Ruth

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  5. Trapping and/or sterilizing and testing as a solution is a failed concept from Day-One.

    There are now about 150,000,000 INVASIVE-SPECIES feral-cats just in the USA, PLUS 86,000,000 pet-cats (60,000,000 of which are still allowed to kill all wildlife), this means the population is already oversaturated for a long time. Nobody wants more than 86,000,000 cats for pets. There's only 311,000,000 people in the USA. 2+ cats exist for every 3 people, from infant to senior. Thanks to those who outlawed destroying them in a more efficient, often more-humane, and more cost-effective manner by shooting them. While they also promoted their slow, random-chance, inefficient, and failed trapping programs. TNR people (criminally animal-abusive and irresponsible cat-hoarders in reality) will claim trap and kill is also a failure, and they'd be right. The problem has always been the trapping, slowing things down far below cats' breeding-rates.

    Keep in mind their exponential growth-rate. An average litter of 5 cats every 5-6 months (some say 3X's a year), breeding as early as 6-months of age. 2 can become 42 (up to 252) cats in only 1 year. No amount of trapping them (if you could even get them all to enter traps), nor valuable resources (transport and vet costs, etc.), man-hours, nor money will ever catch-up to their growth rate. You have an ecological, human-health, animal-welfare, and financial disaster on your hands, ALL thanks to cat-lovers and TNR-advocates. The faster that cats are destroyed the better. Even using guns and having all stray and feral cats shot-on-sight we still might not be able to catch-up to their exponential growth. Not even until every last land animal (including humans) is gone from this earth, due to cats destroying the whole food-chain, with nothing but cannibalistic cats left walking the land. No exaggeration. Do the math. Ask any TNR group how many cats they've trapped. They haven't even begun to scratch the surface of the problem THEY CAUSED and are only exacerbating with their blatant lies and deceptions. Using the birth-rate [of (N/2) X 5)] every 6 months, guess how many feral-cats alone will be born just this year? 375,000,000 (1st gen) + 937,500,000 (2nd gen) = 1,312,500,000. This is of course if they only breed 2X a year and not 3X a year. Add in the original breeding population and you have 150,000,000 + 1,312,500,000 = 1,462,500,000. Yes, nearly 1.5 BILLION cats. Got enough traps? Got enough centuries to trap them all while they're still breeding at exponential rates and still annihilating all wildlife? Trap-advocates cost you to lose the feral-cat-explosion race LONG ago.

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  6. On advice of the sheriff, I alone was able to completely rid my land of ALL these INVASIVE-SPECIES feral-cats by shooting. Cats had annihilated the native food-chain for ALL native wildlife, destroying not only all the prey that their cats disemboweled and cruelly tortured for play-toys, but all the predators that depended on that prey, starving all native predators to death as well. (Now there's REAL animal cruelty for you, caused by cat-lovers. They should all be in prisons for life.) Shooting cats is perfectly legal where I live, and is even a more humane method when done right than terrorizing trapping and animal-shelter methods. One moment they are happily stalking defenseless animals to cruelly torture again, the next they are dead and don't even know what happened. Making your land 100% cat-free is something that cat advocates haven't been able to solve nation-wide for 30-40 years. On my land only 1 person in only 2 seasons was able to accomplish what they couldn't attain in decades. Why is that? It's also been over a year since, guess how many replaced them. NONE. Another flat-out TNR LIE, their "vacuum effect". What replaced them is all the wildlife THAT BELONGED HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. It's time for you all to grow a spine and get enough strength-of-heart to do what needs to be done. If it's not legal where you live then use the "SSS Cat Management Program", for Shoot, Shovel, and Shut-Up. That's legal everywhere in the world. It may be the only thing that saves us from this ecological disaster caused by spineless and ignorant lawmakers, as well as all the heartless and disrespectful cat-advocates that they defend. Don't waste your time arguing with ignorant cat-lovers either, as I stupidly tried to do for 15 years. Just do what needs to be done FIRST. Only later, after you've made your land 100% cat-free should you take your time to try to educate the ineducable, as I am attempting to do now.

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  7. The Feral-Cat Solution:

    Make new cat-ownership AND care-taking of feral-cats a felony, with fines and prison for anyone failing to comply until this ecological-disaster they created is brought under control by any and all means possible. Shoot-on-sight is without a doubt, the fastest, most humane, most economical (0.3 cent to 5 cents, a ONE TIME expense per cat, depending on ammo prices), and most effective method available. It's how I was able to LEGALLY rid my own land 100% of this invasive-species nightmare. (NONE have returned, the TNR-advocates' "vacuum effect" is a bald-faced lie. Native wildlife THAT BELONGED HERE replaced them.) This is the only method that doesn't endanger nor harass any other animals, as frequently happens with non-discriminatory random-chance traps, and is also the ONLY method faster than cats can out-breed and adapt to. (Cats that learned to evade traps are the next generations to try to destroy.) If it's not legal where you live then use the "SSS Cat Management Program" -- SSS = Shoot, Shovel, & Shut-Up. Avoid use of poisons if at all possible, that once entered into the food-chain, will go on to destroy more of the very wildlife that you are hoping to save from destruction by cats. Whatever you do, please bury or incinerate the carcasses so all the deadly diseases that cats now carry won't go on to further infect the native wildlife, nor any other humans that might come in contact with them. (Which now even includes the plague, Google that fun fact. Cats also pass their Toxoplasma gondii brain-altering parasites to your livestock through their cats' feces, which is how it gets into the food-chain and people contract it from eating undercooked meats.)

    Following is some good documentation on the most humane ways to confront a feral-cat problem where you live, including the best firearms, air-rifles, and ammo required. Though avoid using their suggested slow and inefficient trapping methods that got us into the disaster that we have now. http://deenawinter.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/ec1781.pdf

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  8. Here's another Fun-Fact that trap-advocates fail to realize, in their infinite ignorance of how animal-behavior and evolution works.

    Those cats that have learned to avoid and evade all trapping methods are the next generation to survive. Ever hear the old adage, "If you invent a better mousetrap nature will just invent a better mouse."?

    So now, thanks to the supreme stupidity and ignorance of trap-advocates, we have a race of freely roaming cats in all countrysides of every continent which are passing on their "how to survive" behavior to all their offspring, both genetically and behaviorally. Now the next phase of millions of feral-cats won't even be able to be trapped. This is just how amazingly stupid trap-advocates are. You thought 150,000,000 feral cats was bad? In colloquial terms, "You ain't seen nuthin' yet!"

    There's a reason the phrase "hunted to extinction" is so well-known in all cultures across all lands. It is the ONLY method that is faster than a species can breed and adapt to.

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  9. Look up the term TNR advocates just LOVE to use on how they reduce their feral-cat numbers, their candy-coating feel-good term of "Death by Attrition". This means that their cats will die from disease, cat-attacks, animal-attacks, exposure to the elements, being road-kill, starvation, and any other means that drastically shortens the life of those cats. ALL their cats suffering for how many months or years it takes to die that way. In many parts of this country and the world this clearly falls under the guidelines for cruelty to animals, animal-abuse, animal-endangerment, and animal-abandonment laws.

    And let's not forget how TNR advocates think absolutely NOTHING about carving up any cat they see with scalpels for neutering and spaying them, as well as cutting off parts of their ears, from which they have to heal-up for weeks before they are well enough to try to survive again. As if letting them die of "attrition" wasn't bad enough, TNR-advocates start them off by terrorizing them with traps, cages, and sticking knives into them first.

    Not only are they cruelly torturing cats, but also all the wildlife that they inflict their cats upon. Their cats literally clawing the guts out of any wildlife to use it as an agonizingly and slowly dying twitching play-toy for their cats. And as soon as all the "fun" has drained out of the life of their play-toy, they go on and find another one to torture. This is no different than if cat-owners went to a pet-store and bought canaries and mice then threw them at their cats to watch their cats tear them apart for their own amusement. Or what about all the predator wildlife that depends on all those smaller animals for their ONLY food-source? Their cats causing all those larger animals to STARVE TO DEATH. TNR-advocates' cruelty knows no bounds.

    If you want to raise revenue for your towns and cities in order to deal with this invasive-species ecological-disaster properly, start charging all these TNR advocates with severe fines and imprisonment for CRUELTY TO ANIMALS.

    They're not doing this out of any goodness of their hearts. THEY DON'T HAVE HEARTS. Proved, 100%.

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  10. Moral of the Story:

    I wasted 15 YEARS of my life arguing with demented cat-lovers. During which time THEIR _INVASIVE_SPECIES_ CATS DESTROYED ALL NATIVE WILDLIFE ON MY LAND.

    It wasn't until I STOPPED arguing and on advice of the sheriff finally did what needed to be done -- SHOOT ALL CATS -- that my land, all the wildlife on my land, and my life itself started to return to normal. I no longer have to go out twice a day on cat-patrol to shoot more cats nor waste more time and energy burying them to protect wildlife from the diseases they carry. Much to the chagrin of manipulative TNR LIARS that spew their psychotic "vacuum effect" bullsh**. NO CATS have replaced them. The native predators and all other wildlife that BELONG HERE replaced them!

    Learn from this lesson. You can argue with the Toxoplasmosis parasites in the cat-lovers' brains until you are blue in the face and your whole planet is destroyed by their cats, but it'll never get rid of the cats that have destroyed your life and all wildlife.

    JUST DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE -- DESTROY THEM.

    Only later, AFTER your land and life are 100% free of cats, can you have fun trying to educate the ineducable. Use the time you got back from their cats taking over your life to share the best ways to destroy all cats -- without harming any other wildlife or humans. Then if you want, make YOUR life THEIR problem. Just as they made THEIR cats YOUR problem for all these many years. It's only fair! Because that's what it's really all about, isn't it. It's not about cats at all! THEY ONLY WANT TO CONTROL YOUR LIFE WITH THEIR CATS. You can put a stop to that immediately BY DESTROYING THEIR CATS. And there's not ONE THING they can do about it if you do it right. They'll no longer have any part of your life.

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  11. Message to Al - shut up! You are a damned idiot. You keep talking about the domestic cat being an invasive species. I guess Americans are an invasive species too. You came from Europe like the domestic cat. You have wrecked the lives of Native Americans. You have destroyed the habitat of countless species of wildlife. You keep tigers as pets and keep them miserable in cages (4,000 in Texas alone). You are on the way to destroying the cougar. You have by far the largest carbon footprint than any other nation. Shall I go on?! As an invasive species homo sapiens kills far more wildlife than the humble cat ever did - look at yourself Al and open your bigoted closed mind.

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  12. Cats in the TOP 100 WORST Invasive Species of the World

    Global Invasive Species Database

    http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=24&fr=1&sts=sss


    And you don't find it the LEAST bit concerning that you are arguing IN FAVOR of everyone in the world getting their brain parasitized by a cat's parasite that has been PROVED to control and alter the minds of any animal it infects? This doesn't concern you at all? If so, you might want to be tested for Toxoplasmosis. The parasite is preventing you from having any concerns of it being permanently lodged in your brain. True facts. And disturbing to anyone who hasn't been infected by this parasite yet.

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  13. Homo sapiens is NOT an invasive species ANYWHERE, you freakishly stupid MORON. Since humans have the genetic code to give them the capability to travel/migrate to ANY part of the globe, this means they are native to any area they can travel to on their own. Just like birds that have this capability and can travel to different continents and islands. Those that have the flight-range required to do so are NATIVE to those areas that they are capable of traveling to ON THEIR OWN.

    Whereas, an animal genetically engineered through selective breeding, such as CATS, are NOT AN INDIGENOUS SPECIES ANYWHERE. They are no more natural to any native environment than some genetically engineered insect that was invented in some lab.

    If you phenomenally stupid cretins are going to use ecology, biology, speciation, and genetics in your arguments, the very LEAST that you could do is have a base comprehension of what you are talking about. Don't you think?

    No. And that's the problem with terminally ignorant MORONS like you, you CAN'T think.

    There's just no cure for "stupid"!

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