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November 08, 2012

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Comments

Daniela

Great post. I agree completely. This topic is as divisive between cat/bird people as is abortion between social liberals and conservatives. I understand the concern about public safety, but that is where TNR comes is as the RIGHT moderate and humane answer. Thanks for tackling this.

Randy

Good overview. A couple of other thoughts however. There is a portion of the population out there that does not really go for cats and feeding can cause them to congregate in one spot. That is when Animal Services gets the complaints and is the reason for some of the "number of pets" limit regulations. Also, unless they are actually being trapped and neutered then feeding is "artifically" allowing them to reproduce beyond what would naturally happen. Unfortunately some folks are real good at the feeding part but not so hot at the TNR part. Certainly not the cats or TNR' fault. Once again good over view.

Stacey

I have been in situations where feral cats have caused significant property damage. Who pays for that? What if one of those animals bites/scratches someone or someone's pet? Who pays for that?

I recently saw a cat from a local colony on the street flat as a pancake. How is this humane?

Tom K

I've been in situations where rodents have caused significant property damage, including crop damage.

Karen F

Great overview of TNR. Just a note on Randy's comment . . . the only rationale for a pet limit I have seen is the stupid claim that, if you have more than the "average" number of pets (a number chosen by the government), then you are assumed not to have the resources to care for them unless an agent of the government comes into your home, without a warrant, and decides you're okay. Oh, and you have to pay a special tax (excuse me, fee) for the privilege.

http://www.ci.everett.wa.us/default.aspx?ID=285

Laws restricting people's ability to care for animals are a strange and unsettling form of government overreach.

db

@Stacey-
community cats tend to be very wary of humans and if there is any way they can escape contact, they will. So if someone is scratched, it's likely because they cornered a community cat who was simply reacting out of fear. And, yes, it is very sad when cats (or any animals) are hit by cars. I've scraped a number of them off the streets because I believe they deserve some dignity, even in death. How do you know that cat was from a colony and not someone's indoor/outdoor cat?
Finally, how is it humane to trap them, turn them over to animal control where they will most likely be killed?
How would you suggest we deal with community cats?

Thanks, Brent, for covering this. It makes no sense to me whatsoever that trap and kill remains the only way of dealing with these precious souls. I am a caretaker of a feral right now and he is loved, cared for, even though I will never be able to pet him or love him up close. Is his life not worth anything? I think he has every right to live where he is comfortable. It's surely not his fault that at some point, he or his ancestors ended up outdoors to fend for themselves. His life is not easy, but it's his life and I will do everything in my power to make it a little better for him for however long he has.

As far as people feeding but not doing the TNR part, well a lot of that is education. Obviously, people who feed community cats care about them. Let's make it easier for them to be trapped, vetted, neutered/spayed and then returned to their home.

jenn

Here is a balanced website that discusses why TNR is not a good idea. It also has ideas of how to help that population.

http://www.hahf.org/awake/the-trouble-with-trap-vaccinate-neuter-return/

The general public most times doesn't not understand the public health issues that surround feral colonies.

Brent

Jenn, I'm not sure I'd call the site "balanced" as they are very opposed to TNR -- and there actually isn't a bit of evidence on the site that what is presented is actually rooted in fact. They make a big deal out of rabies prevention and spread, but in 2009 there were a total of 300 cats diagnosed with rabies in the US -- and this is with a population of more than 80 million owned cats (and many more unowned). And none of them are reported to have spread the disease to humans. Hardly an epidemic that requires laws to govern against it and kill hundreds of thousands of cats over. http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsrabies/

The site seems more bent on fear-mongering than being "balanced".

Brent

Staci said: "I recently saw a cat from a local colony on the street flat as a pancake. How is this humane?"

Yes, bad things happen to animal species of all kinds. Racoons are often hit by cars - should we round up all racoons and kill them? For that matter, the most likely accidental cause of death for humans is in car accidents. Should we just kill all the humans and kill them to avoid their possible death from car accident?

These ideas seem so absurd, and yet, for some reason, when we talk about it with cats, people strangely defend it.

Firstname Lastname

The TNR CON-GAME

FACT: Trap & Kill failed because cats cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control.

FACT: Trap, Neuter, & Release (TNR) is an even bigger abject failure because these man-made ecological disasters cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control, and they also continue the cruelly annihilate all native wildlife (from the smallest of prey up to the top predators that are starved to death), and the cats continue to spread many deadly diseases that they carry today -- FOR WHICH THERE ARE NO VACCINES AGAINST THEM. Many of which are even listed as bioterrorism agents. (Such as Tularemia and The Plague -- Yes, people have already died from cat-transmitted plague in the USA. No fleas nor rats even required. The cats themselves carry and transmit the plague all on their own.)

FACT: THERE IS ABSOLUTELY _NOTHING_ HUMANE ABOUT TNR. Nearly every last TNR'ed cat dies an inhumane death by road-kill, from cat and animal attacks, environmental poisons, starvation, dehydration, freezing to death, infections, parasites, etc. And if very very lucky humanely shot to death or re-trapped and drowned (the two most common methods employed on all farms and ranches to protect their gestating livestock's offspring and valuable native wildlife dying from cats' Toxoplasmosis parasites). This doesn't begin to count the thousands of defenseless native animals that cats skin alive and disembowel alive for their daily and hourly play-toys. The only difference in destroying cats immediately and humanely instead of trapping, sterilizing, then releasing them to an inhumane death; is that money isn't going into an HSUS or SPCA board-member's pocket, veterinarian's pocket, cat-food company CEO's pocket, or a drug-company CEO's pocket. And that's the ONLY difference!

FACT: Cats are a man-made (through selective breeding) invasive species. And as such, are no less of a man-made environmental disaster than any other caused by man. Cats are even worse than an oil-spill of continent-sized proportions. They not only kill off rare and endangered marine-mammals along all coastlines from run-off carrying cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasites, they destroy the complete food-chain in every ecosystem where cats are found. From smallest of prey gutted and skinned alive for cats' tortured play-toys, up to the top predators that are starved to death from cats destroying their ONLY food sources. (Precisely what cats caused on my own land not long ago.)

FACT: Hunted To Extinction (or in this case, extirpation of all outdoor cats) is the ONLY method that is faster than a species like cats can exponentially out-breed and out-adapt to. Especially a man-made invasive species like these cats that can breed 2-4X's faster than any naturally occurring cat-species.

FACT: In _TWELVE_YEARS_ Alley Cat ALL-LIES of NYC have only reduced feral cats in their own city by 0.08% to 0.024% (as the months go on that percentage becomes more insignificant), allowing more than 99.92% to 99.976% to exponentially breed out of control. Here's how Alley-Cat-ALL-LIES' deceptive math works: If you TNR 4 cats and 3 get flattened by cars this translates to 75% fewer feral-cats everywhere. Alley Cat ALL-LIES can't even reduce cats in their own city, yet they promote it as a worldwide solution. Then even bigger fools fall for it and promote it.

FACT: When researching over 100 of the most "successful" TNR programs worldwide, JUST ONE trapped more than 0.4%. Oregon's 50,000 TNR'ed cats (the highest rate I found) is 4.9% of all ferals in their state. Yet, by applying population growth calculus on the unsterilized 95.1% they will have trapped only 0.35% of all cats in their state sometime this year. Less than 0.4% is a far cry from the required 80%-90% to be the least bit effective.

FACT: Their mythical "vacuum effect" is a 100% LIE. A study done by the Texas A&M University proved that any perceived "vacuum" is just the simple case that CATS ATTRACT CATS. Get rid of them all and there's no cats there to attract more. I proved this myself by shooting and burying hundreds of them on my own land. ZERO cats replaced them FOR OVER 2 YEARS NOW. If you want more cats, keep even one of them around, more will find you. That university study also found that sterilized cats very poorly defend any territory. Non-sterilized cats, being more aggressive, take over the sterilized cats' resources (shelter & food if any). If there is any kind of "vacuum effect" at all, it is that sterilizing cats cause non-sterilized cats to restore the reproductive void.

FACT: During all this investigation I have discovered something that is unfaltering without fail. Something that you can bet your very life on and win every last time. That being -- IF A TNR CAT-HOARDER IS TALKING THEN THEY ARE LYING. 100% guaranteed!

Firstname Lastname

Licensing and laws do nothing to curb the problem. If cats are required to be licensed then cat-lovers just stop putting collars on their cats, as they did by me. And they won't even bother getting them micro-chipped, especially not that They want absolutely nothing that can hold them legally responsible, liable, and accountable for the actions of their cats. It's why many of them even keep cats in the first place. We're not talking about the topmost responsible citizens of the world, you know. They don't want that responsibility of what their cat has done coming back on them. If they had even one iota of a sense of responsibility and respect for all other lives on this planet we wouldn't even be having these discussions.

On the other hand, I found something that DOES work, and works well, and works fast (well, relative to the years it takes trying to reason with deceitful and lying cat-lovers that accomplishes ABSOLUTELY NOTHING). Where I live cat-lovers have learned that _ALL_ cats, stray and feral, collared or not, ear-tipped or not (because TNR con-artist liars now just clip cats' ears only without sterilizing or vaccinating them, to protect their hoarded cats from being trapped and euthanized), _ALL_ their cats are humanely shot on sight and buried whenever found away from supervised confinement.

The ONLY thing that works is destroying any of their cats found outdoors on your property. They either learn to stop getting more cats that die under the wheels of cars or from animal attacks, or they finally learn how to be a responsible pet owner, respectful neighbor, and learn to keep their invasive species animal under confined supervision, as it should be. Win win win all around. You can either destroy their cat for them humanely, or let their lack of concern for their cat cause it to die inhumanely. By destroying their cat for them humanely you are showing them that you care more about their cat than even they do. A bullet is by far the most humane death that any free-roaming cat will ever meet. Anything else is all inhumanely downhill from there. Their only other options are being hit by cars, environmental poisons, cat & animal attacks, disease and parasites, freezing, etc., etc.

You can't train a cat to stay home but I found that, in time, you CAN train a cat-owner into being a responsible pet-owner and a respectable neighbor. Most of them are so phenomenally stupid, disrespectful, and criminally irresponsible though that you have to make at least 12-15 of their cats permanently disappear before they even start to figure out what they've been doing wrong all during their sorry, useless, and pathetic lives.

If you live in an area where its not legal to use firearms to destroy any animal that is threatening the health and safety of you, your family, your animals, or property (as it *IS* legal in most every area of the nation -- shoot to maim is animal cruelty but shoot to kill is a perfectly legal way to humanely destroy any nuisance animal on your own property); then check into laws regarding air-rifles with ballistics speeds of 700-1200 fps and using pointed vermin-pellets in no-firearms zones. Many of the newer ones even come with their own sound-suppressor designs built-in, being specifically designed for shooting vermin cats in urban areas, the demand is that great. Failing that, then there's always the SSS and TDSS Cat Management Programs that are exploding in popularity worldwide. Shoot, Shovel, & Shut-Up; or Trap, Drown, Shovel, & Shut-Up. Both methods are legal on every square foot of this earth. No local laws were violated if it never happened! (Where cats have already learned to evade all trapping methods, then inexpensive generic 1-adult-strength acetaminophen (overseas a.k.a. paracetamol) pain-relievers are a more species specific vermin poison. But you really need to retrieve and dispose of that carcass safely so that native wildlife won't die from the many diseases cats spread even after their death.)

Good luck!

db

Your hatred of all cats and the people who love them is the only thing that comes through. I'm very sorry for you that you feel this way, but it's clear there is nothing anyone can say that will change your mind. So I'm not even going to try.

But I will continue to do what I can for the community and owned cats who come into my life. They are as deserving of life as any other animal, in my opinion.

Brent

I thought about removing the comments from first name/last name but I think they actually show the ridiculousness of the anti-TNR argument.

Their argument seems to go like this:

1) Fear-mongering that they spread disease - -like bioterrorists and can give you the Plague (the CDC notes that there are about 5 documented cases of the Plague in the US every year -- so this is an extremely minor threat).

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/09/07/the-plague-its-still-with-us

2) And further, we should shoot them, to keep them from dying from other causes.

But they would rather kill animals over irrational hysteria and to keep them from dying than be involved in humane measures. Thanks FN/LN for highlighting the argument.

Firstname Lastname

Destroying cats is NOT hating cats nor a fear of cats.

Why do mentally-unbalanced and psychotic cat-advocates always presume that if someone is removing a highly destructive, deadly disease spreading, human-engineered invasive-species from the native habitat to restore it back into natural balance that they must hate that organism? Does someone who destroys Zebra Mussels, Kudzu, African Cichlids, Burmese Pythons, Brown Tree Snakes, or any of the other myriad destructive invasive-species have some personal problem with that species? (Many of which are escaped PETS that don't even spread any harmful diseases, unlike cats.) Your ignorance and blatant biases are revealed in your declaring that people who destroy cats must somehow hate or fear cats. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is people who let a destructive invasive-species roam free that tortures-to-death all other wildlife that have zero respect for life. They don't even care about their cats dying a slow torturous death from exposure, animal attacks, diseases, starvation, dehydration, becoming road-kill, environmental poisons. etc., the way that ALL stray cats suffer to death. They don't even respect their fellow human being. This speaks more than volumes about your disgusting character. People like you should be locked up in prison for life for your cruelty to all animals, cruelty to your own cats as well as all the native wildlife that you let your cats skin alive or disembowel alive. If you let cats roam free you are violating every animal-abandonment, animal-neglect, animal-endangerment, and invasive-species law in existence.

If people DO hate cats today, have LEARNED to hate cats today, you have nobody but yourself and everyone just like you to blame. YOU are the reason people are now realizing that all excess cats must be destroyed on-site and on-sight. You've done so much to make people care about cats, haven't you. If you want to do something about it, direct your sadly and sorely misplaced energies at those that are causing the problem, not at those who are actually solving it.

THIS IS YOUR FAULT and THE FAULT OF EVERYONE JUST LIKE YOU. You have NOBODY but yourselves to blame.

You can take that all the way to the very last shot-dead cat's grave.

Brent

Yes.I'm sure the person is promoting feeding and providing for wild cats is much less caring than the person who wants them shot on-site and on-sight. Thanks for your, eh, "contribution" to the discussion.

PAMM - People Against Mad Murders

I think someone should shoot FL to put him out of his own misery - I'm sure his mother would like the space back in her basement.

Seriously, trace his IP and report him to authorities. What he's doing is considered animal cruelty in most areas.

Karen F

I assume that FL is the well-known troll who usually goes by the name Woodsman. He shows up on every feral-cat-related thread on the Interwebs and says what he says here.

Jenn

I can only offer up what experience I have with several colonies dating back two decades. I'm not a feeder, but I'm an avid trapper because I find that all caretakers are willing to do TNR most just don't have the knowledge or means to do so. First colony - The apartment complex was trapping and killing the cats, but the numbers never dwindled. They bordered two restaurants and the trash brought lots of yummies for the cats to eat (rats, mice, opposum, etc.). We set up a feeder at the request of the owners and began trapping. 37 cats eventually dwindled down to 2 territorial toms that are regulars. We still get called to trap a few times a year because they lady caring for them is great at spotting a new face. That colony has not had kittens for 5 years. The two toms are fat and healthy. I last trapped them for titer testing a year ago and all vaccinations were still in the system (sorry to crush your rabies and disease obsession). Health threat? Not since we started TNR because the whole idea is HEALTHY cats.

Next colony - Created through the ignorance of my aunt. She started with two kittens. When she hit 20 cats by the end of the year, I offered to step in. No, thank you. The coyotes will take care of them. Lovely. Five years later and she was over seventy cats so coyotes weren't doing the best job. Also, she wasn't feeding. She lived outside of town and they were managing just fine on the kid's rabbits, lizards, mice, rats, baby bunnies, squirrels, etc. Thriving colony with no food source. Unhealthy because they hadn't had a lick of shots. San Diego fires took care of it. Burned right through there and took every last cat. There were bloody paw prints on the exterior of the house as though the poor things were trying to escape the heat. Hoping there's a nice hot fire in hell for my aunt to burn in. And she's started all over again...

One last colony example - An older gentleman with a kind heart had moved into an abandoned hotel/restaurant. There were three females, two males, and the kittens started coming. He reached out to a friend because he could no longer afford to feed. My husband and I stepped in to trap (because I really believe in rewarding people for doing the right thing - I can trap so I'm happy to do that for someone). This was approximately four years ago. We got all the females, all the kittens, and one of the toms in about two months of trapping. The second tom disappeared, but resurfaced again six months ago. Smart sucker, but I got him anyway. The minute he spots another cat, he knows to call us, but he hasn't had any others show up.

In my experience over the years, TNR not only works, it results in healthier cats. It's the ONLY way to reduce the population. When you have a food source in areas, the cats aren't going to stop coming to it. It's easier to TNR that area and allow the cats already there to keep new cats out. If everyone would work on their immediate area, this could be successful in cutting down the population that is estimated to be at around 1 million (here in L.A.). This is just my two cents and I can only base it on my experience on both sides of the fence.

stop slavery

Stacey claims she has been "in situations where feral cats have caused significant property damage." But she fails to give even one clue as to what kind of damage these cats are guilty of. It just seems to me, cats aren't a favorite of hers.

As for the "balanced" web site posted by Jenn, it reads more like a site written by cat-nazis. As a matter of fact, it reads like a page out of some of the bird-lovers propaganda manuals.

To FL: You state, "Destroying cats is NOT hating cats nor a fear of cats." FL, in your case, this is a description of your derangement. Your writing clearly paints you as a psychotic joy killer. You are a danger to society!! I've seen your writings before. I'm not sure if you authored them or you just parrot them from those bird-lover's propaganda crap.

This year, I've trapped three stray cats in my area. The first one is feral. I had her spayed and I released her. The second one was very domesticated, she was adopted. The third one is currently in my house awaiting surgery. I do what I can, but we must remember, not all compassionate people can afford to have the strays altered.

Because there is a handicapped raccoon(she does not have use of either front paw. Most likely an auto victim) in my area, I have been feeding her for six months. Many other raccoons, several opossums, the altered feral cat plus two other stray cats all come to feed. Under such an ordinance, I would be mandated to claim them all. What a bunch of garbage!!

The real scary issue here is the serious abuse of power by an elected body. Equally as bad as cat haters are the elected bullies. I believe the ordinance was written after some intolerant cat haters made complaints--you know, it's birds over cats. The ordinance was fashioned in a manner to *entrap* compassionate people like Ms Betancourt. As a matter of fact, this ordinance may have been tweaked specifically against Ms Betancourt. If I had the funds, I would help her drag this issue through the courts, where I'm sure she would win. My heart goes out to Ms Betancourt.

I would like to suggest a new ordinance for the community of Liberty, MO: An ordinance that makes it unlawful to have behavior unbecoming a human. It should be fashioned in a manner to entrap community bullies.

Stacey

I have been in a situation where cats were urinating in a finished basement window (this was the family room of the house) damaging furniture and molding inside and making the room smell like cat pee.

I have had a "community cat" try to attack me when I was out walking. I realize this behavior is very rare, but it apparently happens.

There are the many camera traps of feral cats with a dead endangered animal in their mouth.

I have no problem with cats that have owners/caregivers that take responsibility for them. We don't allow other domestic and/or invasive animals to roam at large without consequences. Cats should not be allowed to so either.

stop slavery

Sorry Stacey, you don't make a very good case to defend the fact that you have no compassion for cats. And you want to make the victims pay for the sins of the original weapons of mass destruction: humans!!

As for the "community" cat attacking you, there is more to this story then we can trust you to tell. This is common behavior among kittens and young cats.

Don't misunderstand, I get angry when I see stray cats, because I'm opposed to it. People like me, who care about ALL animals, spend our resources, time, and skills picking up the pieces. But I would *never* choose to destroy a victim of man's making just because some humans are intolerant and vicious.

I feed the birds in winter, and it's painful for me to look out the window and see a hawk on the stalk or to go out and see all that remains of a bird is some feathers. Likewise, when I hear owls in the night, I know they live because other creatures died--not just birds. I love rabbits! It's torture to my soul to know how they are preyed upon by all the predators. Before I let my dogs out in the evening, I scan the yard to make sure no rabbits are out there. If one of my dogs kills a bird or other creature, I traumatize the dog over the incident.

It takes a village to keep animals safe, but, unfortunately, it only takes a few animal haters and some elected bully nuttyness to do a lot of damage.

"Take away the animals and insects, and in fifty years the earth will die. Take away the humans, and in fifty years the earth will flourish."

Brent

Stacy said:

"We don't allow other domestic and/or invasive animals to roam at large without consequences"

Actually Stacy, there are dozens of non-native species that live in the US without consequence. Many go unmanaged at all, and only ones that cause significant problems with other species have any controls at all. As I stated before, there are essentially three different solutions to this -- one is completely cost-prohibitive for governments to be involved in (especially given the minimal impact feral cats have on communities), one essentially makes the "problem" worse with no management, and one allows for colony managers to properly and effectively manage colonies. There is really only one viable solution to this...

elizabethc

Seriously? The Plague? there's some, er, crazy talk up there.

Educating The Cretins

Seriously? You're just another ignorant and demented cat-loving moron?

These are just the diseases they've been spreading to humans, not counting the ones they spread to all wildlife. THERE ARE NO VACCINES against many of these, and are in-fact listed as bio-terrorism agents. They include: Campylobacter Infection, Cat Scratch Disease, Coxiella burnetti Infection (Q fever), Cryptosporidium Infection, Dipylidium Infection (tapeworm), Hookworm Infection, Leptospira Infection, Giardia, Plague, Rabies, Ringworm, Salmonella Infection, Toxocara Infection, Toxoplasma. [Centers for Disease Control, July 2010] Sarcosporidiosis, Flea-borne Typhus, and Tularemia can now also be added to that list.

A FEW examples:

Cat-Transmitted PLAGUE:
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8059908
www.pagosasun.com/archives/2011/07July/072811/webplague.html
www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/oregon-man-suffering-plague-critical-condition-article-1.1094782
www.daily-times.com/ci_20849462/health-department-said-taos-cat-has-plague

Totally disproving that oft-spewed myth that cats in Europe could have prevented the plague. No rats nor fleas even required. Cats themselves carry and transmit the plague all on their own.

Now add in the FACT that cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasite's strange life-cycle is meant to infect rodents, thereby causing all rodents to lose their fear of cats and actually be attracted to anywhere that cats urinate.

scitizen.com/neuroscience/parasite-hijacks-the-mind-of-its-host_a-23-509.html

Now cats attract rodents to your home with their whole slew of diseases -- INCLUDING ANY THAT MIGHT CARRY THE PLAGUE. The plague will be far far worse this time around. Cats will be attracting the plague RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR and then the cats will carry it right to you. If you want rodents in your home keep cats outside of it to attract diseased rodents to your area. I experienced this phenomenon (as have many others), and all rodent problems disappeared after I shot and buried every last cat (of HUNDREDS) on my land.

The time has come to destroy them all whenever spotted away from supervised confinement. There's no other solution. We have nobody but cat-lovers to thank for this health and ecological disaster. Stray-cats, the very source of all feral-cats, need to be euthanized too or you'll never be rid of the feral-cat problem.

Brent

Again, let me point out, that according to the CDC, only about 4 people per year get the plague in the US. Four. And only in a small percentage of those cases were cats the carrier.

But let's say (to humor you for a second) this is something we should be scared of (its not), what is the appropriate course of action? Kill every animal that could potentially be a carrier? So now we're just goingt o kill all rats, mice, squirrels, cats, dogs, prarie dogs, chipmunk, etc because it MIGHT, in a statistically non-existent chance, carry the plague?

It's an absurd notion.

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