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« KC Pet Project logs 12 months of No Kill Success | Main | Weekly Roundup -- Week Ending 8/25/13 »

August 20, 2013

Comments

Fayclis

As usual sober thought replaces hype. Thanks again Brent for always putting outlandish media reports into proper perspective.

Adrianne

Great work, Brent. Perhaps you can determine who the program manager is at CDC who's responsible for this information and get him or her to sit down with you. They might; it's worth a try. They are a science-based organization and I can't believe they would let this information live out in the world if it is just this misguided.

Ted Moore

A cautionary tale on many levels, the most important of which, in my view, is that, at the intersection of politics and public safety, it's the naively trusting who usually get themselves, and the rest of us, run down.

dodo bird

http://www.viewdocsonline.com/document/i8oon5

Here's the article.

jan

Thanks for a well researched and convincing post. I guess I'll let my cat out of that room now.

Frazzled

It seems you like to play the appeal to expertise card, until an expert seemingly lets you down. Then it is time to attempt to analyze their research without having an educational background that would allow you to do that effectively.

1. You cannot estimate the percentage of the feral cat population with rabies from these numbers. You could if you were sure that all cats, or some known percentage, with rabies were detected as such. You simply can't do that math as you have with these numbers.

2. You can't even compare the percentages of raccoons with rabies to cats with rabies without knowing about how a rabid cat is likely to be detected vs another animal with which you'd like to make the comparison. If you know something of this detection process, then you might be able to ascertain the chance of a rabid raccoon being detected vs. a rabid cat. Without this correction, then these numbers can't be compared. I'll leave it to this being self-evident from a mathematical standpoint to anyone that could have their mind changed.

3. One reason that a random rabid raccoon is probably less of a threat to humans than a random rabid feral cat is because raccoons do not congregate in large groups relatively close to human settlements. Also, raccoons are most active at night, when people sleep, and are very secretive. When you see a drunk looking raccoon walking around in the day in a neighborhood (I've seen this), then they stick out like a sore thumb and you call animal control immediately. Cats are a bit different. I pulled these very relevant thing right off the top of my head. Now why do you trust your analysis when you couldn't do the same?

4. The reason that humans get rabies at a low rate is in part because when someone is potentially exposed, they are treated pretty aggressively with vaccines and immunoglobulins. I've actually had a series of rabies shots off a potential exposure. So, you are stating how rare rabies is, but not recognizing that it is rare because people have to go through a long course of shots and spend $10,000 on those shots. You don't seem to figure that into your cost/benefit there.

It's funny to read all the back rubs you got over this from other commenters. As soon as I saw numbers being used I knew there was a high chance that this blog post was bad.

Frazzled

Also, would you like to describe to your readers the treatment prognosis for someone that contracts rabies and is not treated during the viruses incubation period (actually early in it)? I'll give you a hint. The number of throughout history that have survived rabies can be counted on 1 hand.

Now, care to link to a video of someone that is dying from rabies? It's fun. It includes a slow downward spiral to inevitable death accompanied by the inability to be effectively comforted by your family and fear of weird things like water and air currents. It is one case where they should just euthanize the human with it.

Now, wanna know how many feral cats I would humanely euthanize to end all the problems associated with them being near people, the disease risk to humans and other pets (including rabies), and the relative misery of their feline lives (don't pretend it is a good life)? All of them. I would euthanize everyone to save a single child from contracting rabies.

Your love of animals has outstripped your common sense.

Brent

Frazzled,

Your comment is my favorite kind of comment because it a) assumes that I, and the readers, are ignorant b) assumes the position of superior knowledge even though its posted anonymously which gives us no ability to discern whether you have actual credentials or not and c) contains a lot of talk, but no substantial information. Condescending comments without credentials are awesome.

So with that said, let's look at your comments:

1) I did the math based on the number diagnosed with rabies. The number is what it is. That doesn't imply that by any stretch all cats with rabies are included in the number. It just means that's how many have been diagnosed. Double it. Triple it. Quadruple it. It's still not a significant problem.

2) #2 seems to contradict #3. It certainly seems that if a population of animals lived in close proximity to humans then they would be more likely to be diagnosed as rabid than those that don't congregate near humans. Given our proximity to cats, and that a significant number of the cats are actually being monitored and cared for (which isn't the case for skunks or raccoons), it seems more likely that cats would be detected than the others, not vice versa. Again, I'd like to point out that racoons would have to be 7x more likely than cats to be diagnosed for the numbers to even out, so this would have to be compelling.

3) Except, in spite of your statements, cats are NOT more of a threat to humans than raccoons, or bats. The actual data on human exposure to rabies doesn't suggest that to be the case at all. I can come up with anecdotal ideas all day long....but none of that replaces data. You really should read the report I linked to.

4) The reason people don't get polio any more is because we vaccinate for it. Same with small pox. Vaccinations and treatment options do make things safer...and I'm glad they exist. But the fact that we would not be safe without them doesn't take away that we are safe with them.

5) I'm very aware of the horribleness of death if one does get rabies. I'm also aware that once symptoms show, the likelihood of survival is virtually zero. That also doesn't change the fact that on average, 2-3 people a year die from rabies -- and 1/3 of those will happen from animal bites in other countries. There are many horrible ways to die, and the likelihood that it will be from being bitten by a rabid animal in this country is statistically almost zero. And in almost all cases, the rabies death will have been from a bat. In no cases in the past 15 years has it been from a cat. ZERO. So in all your hysteria about using resources to round up feral cats and kill them you don't note that THIS HAS NOT BEEN A PROBLEM. And the resources used to round them up in the name of public safety would be better used doing, well, anything. Heck, they'd be better used rounding up bats or raccoons, and yet no one is proposing that. And in fact, the likelihood of significant disease coming from a mouse or rat (which populations are usually controlled by cats) is much higher than the likelihood of getting rabies from a cat (which again, is almost zero).

I'm sorry that my numbers are scary for you...but I do believe in making opinions based on data....

MichelleD

I guess you don't let your children take a bath, swim, ride in a car, ride a bike or leave your one story house?

Sorry Frazzled...the hand-wringing "if it saves just ONE child!!!!" doesn't fly here.

And also telling that you say you had to have rabies shots but failed to mention where your potential exposure came from - obviously not from a cat.

Frazzled

"Your comment is my favorite kind of comment because it a) assumes that I, and the readers, are ignorant b) assumes the position of superior knowledge even though its posted anonymously which gives us no ability to discern whether you have actual credentials or not and c) contains a lot of talk, but no substantial information. Condescending comments without credentials are awesome."

So, someone needs credentials or knowledge in order to spot faulty logic and the misuse of mathematics? Sorry, that isn't how things work. If a homeless man under a bridge explains to you why you are wrong, and his case is solid, it doesn't matter who he is.

I did not need superior knowledge to realize what a hack job this was.

Frazzled

"Heck, they'd be better used rounding up bats or raccoons, and yet no one is proposing that."

Bats and raccoons serve an ecological purpose. I wouldn't want someone to round up and kill all venomous snakes either.

Feral cats? The self-conscious brand of do-gooder will bond with and defend anything it seems so long as it can be shown to be some sort of a victim.

Also, feral cat colonies do not typically occur where the people supporting these efforts (speaking of resources as you did) to trap and fix them.

Most of you do not have to incur the annoyance, decreased property values, and increased health risk that come with having a few hundred cats living near you.

Frazzled

"2) #2 seems to contradict #3."

Way to dodge the fact that proximity to humans obviously increases risk.

"And in almost all cases, the rabies death will have been from a bat."

Hmm...very true. And why more bats than raccoons given the numbers? It is because bats fly into homes and often leave undetected bites or the bites are minor and people do not think to get checked. That has nothing to do with the risk of these huge colonies of happy felines that we should spend resources to help.

I had an idiot neighbor that fed stray cats. You can imagine the situation in a few years. There were about 10 semi-feral cats in my neighborhood. It sucked.

Brent

1) Having no credentials is one thing. Having no credentials and calling something a "hack job" without providing any credible data is another. The two combined make you not an expert, but an anonymous internet troll.

2) You're right. Cats have never been known to catch mice, rats and other vermin that carry disease and in fact, caused a plague that wiped out 1/3 of Europe. They're completely useless and there would be no repercussions to their erradication.

3) I noted the circular logic because you seemed to think (again, without any supporting evidence) that cats were not diagnosed with rabies at the same rate as raccoons, even though they live closer to humans. This seems extremely counter-intuitive, and without data, or facts, we must rely on intuition. And intuitively, this makes no sense. Meanwhile you make the statement: "living in close proximity obviously increases risk" -- please share the numbers that indicate as much. In spite of the growth in feral cat colonies over the past decade, the number of people that have died from rabid cat bits has grown from zero to zero. It's quite the epidemic. In this case, you try to use intuition in spite of availability of data and facts to the contrary.

I can only imagine that living near 10 semi-feral cats sucked only marginally as bad as living next to a crotchety, hateful neighbor with no compassion or ability to make decisions based on facts, not emotion.

It's also worth noting that most animal welfare advocates promote and encourage TNR, which slows population growth and ensures vaccination which helps keeps both supposed problems in check.

Frazzled

"You're right. Cats have never been known to catch mice, rats and other vermin that carry disease and in fact, caused a plague that wiped out 1/3 of Europe. They're completely useless and there would be no repercussions to their erradication."

So, you are stating that feral cats are a net positive, on the level of a species that evolved within a shaped current ecosystems, because they kill mice and mice sometimes hurt people.

Really? You aren't blushing right now for trying to pull that one?

So now mice are vermin and feral cats are what exactly? I can't believe you just negatively judged rodents like that. I'm just shocked.

Frazzled

You should read this.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/culturing-science/2013/01/29/killer-cats/

Brent

1) Didn't say they were a net positive. But there would be repercussions.

2) This is essentially my point. If we want to have an honest conversation about cats killing bird species, then lets do it. We should do it. But the "cats are rabid killers in waiting" comment is not honest, intellectual conversation.

And don't pretend to be interested in intellectual conversation, because it took you nearly 10 posts to finally come up with something not defending the "cats are rabid because I say so" argument and continuing to lose out due to circular logic and data that conflicts with your opinion.

f

http://news.wildlife.org/blog/feral-cats-cause-rabies-outbreak-in-new-mexico/

Read the part about exposures, not cases. Exposures that cause humans to endure the possibility of contraction and pay in medical bills and getting stuck by needles is a cost.

Those not in the no kill movement aren't down with your social experiment with feral cats.

Most programs, due to obvious logistics, are trap-NEUTER-release. I assume you all know how many female cats that one fertile male can impregnate.

Frazzled

"1) Didn't say they were a net positive. But there would be repercussions."

Repercussions being what? I can list: hurt feelings among those with a ratio of compassion to common sense greater than 1 and the humane end of a brutish life that is not valued by most people and which the cats are incapable of conceiving aside from a base desire to stay alive akin to a platyhelminthes moving towards moisture.

Brent

Sorry, an anecdotal story from an organization that is opposed to feral cats for other reasons doesn't replace real data that exists that says this is not a significant public health risk. And I'm still fascinated that in the link they note that the cats contracted the disease from skunks (which statistically are much more of a rabies vector than cats) and no one is calling for the erradication of skunks. Doesn't make sense.

And no, most TNR programs handle both males and females. "Neuter" as a term can be used for both sexes. You seriously just think they deal with males? Wow. Ok, no wonder you're so opposed to it because you apparently know nothing about it. They also vaccinate against rabies during the process.

Karen

Frazzled is typical of the sort of haters we see ranting at length about Pit Bulls every chance they get. Extremists.

spinsterminn

Hmmm...Frazzled sounds to me an awful lot like that proxy train using poster child for poor mental health, Woodsman aka Nature Advocate, aka many 100s of other aliases...

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