Friday, July 22, 2005

Who's responsible for Community Cats?

I posted a little earlier today about how I was upset that this woman would not sterilise the remaining cat breeding in her block because she did not want to use a cat trap. I should clarify I had spoken to her at least a year ago or so, and she had told me that all was under control then, except for the mother cat, which she would do and which still isn't done.

Now the town council is coming and she's called me. Coincidentally she got my number which she lost because the Society had received a complaint and we went down to try and find the feeder. We were told there are a lot of cats around.

Anonymous posted to say I was being too harsh for the feeders and that they were being kind to feed the cats (you can see the posts below) but here's the thing :- if you keep feeding and don't sterilise, the cats with good nutrition are going to keep reproducing and then they're going to get rounded up and killed. How is this kind? If say you decided I don't want to feed these two cats, yes they might be hungry, and yes they still might breed but they wouldn't breed as fast, and I have never seen or heard of a cat die of hunger yet in the literally thousands of cats I've seen around.

Say you feed them though - these two cats breed because they're getting good nutrition. They're nice and fat - they give birth to three litters a year and of these litters say 4 cats are born. In two years, it's estimated, 2 cats and their offspring can give birth to 324 cats. In the meantime, they're mating and fighting and giving birth - which leads to the risk of FIV, FELV and FIP being passed on.

Then the town council gets complaints - which they inevitably will - and the cats get rounded up and killed.

So is the feeder responsible? If not the feeder, then whom? The minute you take on the responsibility of feeding the cat, the cat IS your responsibility. Would the feeder decide, I don't feel like feeding today? No, they'd probably say I HAVE to feed because the cat is waiting for me - as Anonymous said, the feeder in her estate has fed every night for the last 8 years. Isn't that taking on the responsibility?

It's great that people mean to be kind, but they also have to think about the bigger picture. If they don't intend to sterilise, then don't feed.

It's not to say the authorities do not need to be responsible, but if we keep waiting for them to do something, our cats whom we profess to love, are dying needlessly in the meantime.

What also irks me is that this feeder has said that she wants to sterilise the cat, but just refuses to try the cat trap. How will she know it doesn't work if she doesn't give it a shot? I've offered to drive the trap down and show her to use it. At the worst, it doesn't work and we try something else. If it does, the mother cat stops dropping kittens regularly.


Blogger Sivasothi said...

Feeders are certainly lovely people but I agree it's probably better they attempt to manage populations by sterilisation. Else the increase in cat population means a higher risk of compaints supporting town council cullings.

Sad but true.

In nature/biodiversity circles, the people who love seeing monkeys in the wild are strong advocates of not feeding them - see Habitatnews.

Feeding leads to overpopulation, aggresive interaction with humans and eventually the monkeys become a nuisance and are culled.

At least with cats, sterilisation can be attempted.

22/7/05 9:31 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Very interesting article! Hope Ria was okay ! :)
Cats I think are also different in that they're already in the environment, and as you said, they can be sterilised, which makes them less aggressive, not more so. Feeding is certainly a good thing to do for cats, but has to be coupled with sterilisation.

22/7/05 10:45 PM  

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