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CAT PROBLEM OVERVIEW AND PROPOSED SOLUTIONS

The primary problem associated with free roaming cats is the high rate of reproduction.  Spaying or neutering can prevent additional unwanted animals.

Free roaming cats are generally one of the following:

(a)                House pet allowed outside

(b)               Stray but social cat (can be unowned, lost, or abandoned)

(c)                Unsocial, wild cat or “feral” cat

In order to deal with the community’s “cat problem,” each category must be dealt with.

SOLUTIONS FOR OWNED ANIMALS THAT GO OUTSIDE

  1. Mandatory identification of cats. In addition to requiring that cats wear collars and tags, our community should consider implementing a back-up permanent identification system such as microchips.
  2. Mandatory rabies vaccinations for all cats more than three months of age.
  3. Mandatory sterilization of all free-roaming cats.
  4. An ongoing public education program that promotes responsible cat care.
  5. Subsidized sterilization services to encourage cat owners to sterilize their animals

SOLUTIONS FOR STRAY AND FERAL ANIMALS OUTSIDE

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a full management plan in which stray and feral cats already living outdoors in cities, towns, and rural areas are humanely trapped, then evaluated, vaccinated, and sterilized by veterinarians. Kittens and tame cats are adopted into good homes via the humane society.  Healthy adult cats too wild to be adopted are returned to their familiar habitat under the lifelong care of volunteers.  Feral cats will be eartipped so they are easily identifiable.

 

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

Since owned animals that are not fixed can lead to litters of unowned animals, spaying and neutering is critical.  Those who do not spay or neuter their pets are generally either (a) low income and cannot afford it or (b) are uneducated about pet overpopulation and thus unconcerned about sterilizing their animal.

* Low income families or students often are renters.  The city should encourage landlords or rental companies to require the spaying and neutering of animals.  A sterilized animal has much fewer behavioral problems (e.g., spraying) and would ultimately benefit the property owner.

* The humane society does not have a mandatory sterilization policy for adopted animals.  Perhaps this issue needs to be addressed to ensure that the shelter does not continue to add to the problem unintentionally.

 

 

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