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Letters Oct. 16, 2013

Trap, neuter, return

Re: Humane way of dealing with feral cats

 

Oct. 16 is National Feral Cat Day. This distinction is to bring attention to the plight of feral cats all over the world and to inform the public of the work being done to make them better neighbors.

Outdoor cats have existed alongside humans for 10,000 years. They are not a new phenomenon. Feral and stray cats live and thrive in every landscape, from the inner city to rural farmland. They typically live in groups called colonies and have strong social bonds with their colony members.

True feral cats are not socialized to people, and therefore, they are not adoptable. Feral cats don’t belong indoors and are typically wary of humans. However, as members of the domestic cat species (just like pet cats), they are protected under state anti-cruelty laws.

Feral cats should not be taken to animal shelters. Their needs are not met by the current animal control and shelter system, where animals who are not adoptable are killed. Feral cats live full, healthy lives outdoors — but are killed in shelters. Even no-kill shelters, like the Sheridan Dog and Cat Shelter, can’t place feral cats in homes. Feral kittens, though, can be adopted into homes, but they must be socialized at an early age. There is a crucial window of time to socialize them. Otherwise, they will remain feral.

There are organizations locally and nationally working to reduce the numbers of feral cats through TNR (trap, neuter, return). In this program cats are trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and eartipped (the universal symbol of a neutered and vaccinated cat), and then returned to their outdoor home. The colony’s population stabilizes — no more kittens. TNR improves their lives and improves their relations with the community — the behaviors and stresses associated with mating stop. It is the humane, effective approach for feral cats.

If you do not want them in your yard there are simple steps to take to divert them from the area. Killing them is not the solution.

You can obtain information from www.alleycat.org, or you can contact Second Chance Sheridan Cat Rescue for a pamphlet with valuable information.

 

Rita Rohrbaugh

Sheridan


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