Protecting the cat before it is caught
I just spoke with a woman who said that she needed a trap for a friend who wanted to sterilise some cats. Apparently the cats were being fed and presumably not sterilised. Quite a few of them were trapped though there are some still not done.
We made arrangements for the trap to be dropped off but I asked the woman if her friend had tried to approach any of the complainants. She said that in her experience, there was no point talking to people who complain.
I told her that on the contrary, most people want to solve the problem - not kill the cat. I spoke with a complainant this morning who told me he wanted the cat removed. However when I asked him for more details, he said that the cat was urinating outside his flat - he knew exactly which cat it was and he wanted the urination to stop. He said that he was fine with the cat remaining as long as the urination stopped.
Furthermore, this woman feeds mostly in private housing estates which she does not live in. One of the things I often hear from people in these estates is why these feeders come into their estates and feed other cats - they wonder why they don't care for cats in their own estates. I think one of the things underlying it is often the thought that they don't want the mess and inconvenience in their own area, so they do it in some other area. In addition, when the cats are fed and not sterilised, the number grows. To residents, the feeders are the source of the problem - if only there were no feeders, they think, there would be no cats because the cat population often becomes more obvious if the cats are fed. Obviously this is not the case - but did anyone tell the complainants that?
The woman said that she did not have time to do management. She said that she was already feeding and caring for so many cats. I told her that some people sterilise - they realise that this may not save those cats but it cuts the population down, and to them, that helps already because less cats will suffer overall. That's perfectly valid because obviously everyone has limited resources and they do what they can. However as I told this woman, sterilising the cats alone will not save them because there are complaints and these need to be dealt with. If not, the cats are still going to get caught.
She said that she cares for these cats and goes down and pays to have them taken out of the AVA when they are caught. I told her that in that case, management IS essential. Whatever it is, if the cat is caught, the cat cannot be released back on the streets - which means it has to go into a home or boarding somewhere. How long can this be kept up and is this really what is best for the cat? It is stressed and scared during the whole process - if the cat can be spared the ordeal, I would say that would be a very good thing. Instead of 'rescuing' the cat after, why not preempt and try and protect the cat before it is caught?