Feral cats – friend or foe? | Letter
Editor, The Beacon:
Some time ago, The Beacon published a letter from a well-meaning community member extolling the virtues of a healthy feral cat community.
Recently, at the entrance to a local grocery store, shoppers were greeted with a sidewalk display of very cute, caged feral cat kittens being used as a prop to encourage donations to help trap, neuter and feed our local feral cat populations.
Additionally, there were printed materials that offered information on a program called Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR). This well-intended program is long on good intentions and short on population control.
These good-hearted and kind people have a passion for caring for these animals at the cost of community health.
Had I known about this educational opportunity, I would have prepared a companion display describing the other side of feral cat infestation, featuring a section of lawn, flower bed, and children’s sandbox from our neighborhood that is laden with feral cat feces.
I would also have brought up some landscaping boards that reek of feral cat urine, the result of a natural male feline territorial competition.
In order to give ultimate balance to the presentations, I would supply printed information on the dangers of feral cats to household feline pets, including feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline distemper and feline rabies.
Also informative would be a recent study by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute suggesting that cats are the top threat to U.S. wildlife, as they were found to be responsible for the deaths of up to 3.7 billion birds and 20.7 billion mammals annually, with feral and stray cats being the worst offenders.
Feral cats thrive in an environment where ample food, shelter from predators and water exist. The natural environment in our neighborhoods provides the last two and a very few of our good-hearted neighbors provides the food.
One of our neighbors particularly affected by this scourge has humanely trapped 19 feral cats in his yard and turned them over to Animal Control.
While having an across-fence conversation on this topic and observing feral cats roaming our alleys, a lactating feral cat casually approached us and then stopped just long enough to deposit a load on our former mayor’s lawn.
Speculation as to the political affiliation of feral cats is yet unknown. This is a community problem, and I urge our community leaders to address it.
What can you do? Don’t feed feral cats. If your community is infested with feral cats, the Internet is replete with methods for humane trapping and relocation to cat sanctuaries.