There’s been a rash of recent coverage in the BND on feral cats. Who knew we had a feral cat problem in the local area until this furry feline flurry of articles?
Peter Wolf, a cat initiatives analyst for Best Friends Animal Society, weighed-in from his home in Phoenix, Arizona. He favors trap-neuter-vaccinate-return programs to manage the problem as opposed to the more traditional euthanizing.
As a cat lover, he can’t even bear to call them feral (having reverted to the wild state) cats, choosing “unowned, free-roaming, community cats.” Does the latter imply placed responsibility on residents?
There are 50-70 million feral cats in the U.S. Some locations must have cat-astrophic problems. Chicago’s Cook County has had a trap-neuter-vaccinate-return program since 2007. Their privately-funded effort has spayed, neutered and vaccinated over 12,000 cats.
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Opponents say feral cat colonies are potential rabies breeding grounds. They warn of inbreeding, worms, flea infestations, and feline leukemia and AIDS. Don’t forget countless kittens!
Feral cats are big eaters. In the U.S. from 1 to 4 billion birds and 6 to 22 billion rodents are consumed annually. Mickey, Minnie or Tweety Bird could be dinner “guests.”
We could have a problem, but it’s not clear if Caseyville’s Samantha Stephens’, the Pied Piper of Pussycats, approach is the answer. Something sounds screwy about going to neighboring communities like Belleville, East St. Louis, or Washington Park, trapping their “wild” cats, and then returning them back to the streets after a quick trip to the vet.
Bill Malec, O’Fallon