Abandonment - need to tackle it together
I spoke to one of the town council officers today. Some sterilised cats were caught by mistake the other day and the caregiver was upset. It turns out that the number of cats has been rising constantly in this estate - a fact which the caregiver told me as well. She said there were at least 8 new cats in the area she fed due to abandonment.
The officer seemed quite nice, but sounded very harassed. He mentioned that he had 5 complaints from different families in this small area because the number has been increasing. He admitted as well that there are residents who let their cats run downstairs, making it seem like there were even more cats. He also agreed that there was abandonment in the estate which was causing the increase.
However, he hoped the caregivers would turn the cats over to the town council, or not get them sterilised. That's really not helpful - the caregivers obviously do care for cats, so how many can turn the cats over to the town council? More importantly, why should they? The problem is with the people abandoning the cats - and the caregivers are getting punished for it instead.
There really needs to be more done to try and tackle abandonment. Quite a few people have no qualms about dumping a cat on the street - and that's causing the caregivers endless problems.
This officer was willing to put up a poster on abandonment which is great, but it really needs to be a more concerted effort. Right now, a lot of people don't even know abandonment is a crime. If they do, many will rationalise, it was a community cat in the first place, so it really wasn't 'theirs' so to speak. How long does the cat have to be off the street before it becomes 'yours'? One month? Two years? Eight years?
Also what about indoor-outdoor cats that people up and leave? One poor cat I saw was in danger of getting caught because the owners left it and it kept sitting outside the flat that they used to live in, waiting for them. The new owners called the town council.