Letters to the Editor

Don’t re-abandon homeless cats

Thank you for your thoughtful editorial on “trap-neuter-release” (“Catching Wild Cats May Be Kind, But Ultimately How Humane Is It?” Feb. 22). If people care about homeless cats, the last thing they should do is re-abandon them, which is what trap-neuter-release amounts to.

Cats who are forced to live outdoors face daily battles against parasites, deadly contagious diseases, extreme temperatures, speeding cars, predators on two legs and four, and more — battles they will inevitably lose. The average lifespan of an outdoor cat is just two to five years, compared to 12-15 years for a cat who lives indoors. These cats aren’t being “saved.” Their deaths are merely being moved from the comfort and peacefulness of an animal shelter to the misery and violence of the streets.

Moreover, trap-neuter-release doesn’t even work: It actually encourages more people to abandon their cats because they think the cats will be “cared for,” and the food set out for “managed” colonies attracts more cats (as well as rats and rabies vectors like foxes and raccoons).

The truly humane and effective way to address the homeless cat crisis is by requiring that all cats be spayed and neutered, licensed, microchipped, and kept indoors, not by turfing cats out to die slowly on the streets.

Teresa Chagrin, Animal Care & Control Specialist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals