Thursday 21 December 2017

Why are there so many feral cats in Israel?

The simple answer to the question in the title is that the people of Israel in general accept and don't mind the presence of community cats in their country. They are part of the fabric of life in the country I think it is fair to say. They are there because of the usual reasons which is some cat owners not spaying or neutering their cats and some of these cats become stray and feral cats and they procreate and so on. Unless steps are taken the numbers continue to grow. I have been to Jerusalem. There are lots of feral cats. The crucial point is to prevent the creation of stray cats in the first instance. There comes a time when it is harder and more expensive to resolve a 'feral cat problem'.

Jerusalem. Woman feeds community cats. Photo: EPA/ABIR SULTAN

There are apparently 2 million of them in Israel and the numbers are of course increasing because not enough of them are spayed and neutered under TNR programs. Despite the fact that there is no real commitment to deal with them in a humane way at present there may come a time when things change due to sheer numbers.

Someone predicted that there will be 8 million feral cats in the country in several years which would match the number of citizens in Israel.

The agricultural Minister apparently believes that the country should not neuter or spay cats because it would go against God's wish to be fruitful and multiply! That sounds rather far-fetched to me but I am open to an alternative viewpoint.

This Minister wants to ship out either all the male cats or all the female cats to another country which agrees to accept them. This would of course mean the feral cats of Israel could not multiply and it would solve at a stroke the feral cat problem. In fact they would all die out in about 15 years in theory.

Israel have a good relationship with their feral cats. They have banned declawing. They are good at animal welfare in my opinion. They won't want to deal with the cats inhumanely. There will probably start funding TNR programs more efficiently and also funding veterinarians to spay and neuter community cats free of charge. They should rely upon volunteers to help. Volunteers very often want to help and be involved. They keep the costs down.

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