This morning I read an article concerning feral cats in Pontiac County, Illinois. Feral cats are a huge concern for many communities throughout the U.S. Efforts to help combat exploding feral cat populations are quite costly for local governments and also costly for our environment. Anyone who works for a pet shelter/humane society is usually pretty passionate about this issue.
To learn more about feral cats I really suggest visiting the Feral Cats Blog by Barb from AnimalResources. It lists ways to help, what cities are doing, what problems feral cats cause, no kill solutions and so on.
Like many counties, Pontiac County is partnering with there local humane society to catch feral cats, spay or neuter and then release them. This county, like many others, has no other choice but to foot the bill for each procedure.
“Mayor Scott McCoy said a rough estimate would be $15,000 to $20,000 a year for what he termed a “pilot program” to reduce the feral cat population in the city. But in the coming years, the cost should drop because the population should drop, McCoy said.”
Generally feral cats do not make good pets. The humane and environmentally responsible thing to do is get them spayed/neutered. Eventually the number of feral cats will decrease. If you have a pack or even one feral cat in your neighborhood, you can do your part by asking your local pet shelter or humane society for a “catch and release trap.” Some organizations drop them off, but you might have to go pick it up. Once you catch the cat you can find an organization that will provide sterilization services at low cost. Some cities even have organizations that will perform this service free of charge. Once the operation is preformed the cat can be released back out into the wild.
California is proposing a Bill, “The Healthy Pets Act,” that would require all dog and cat owners in California to spay and neuter their pets by the time they are four months old. Some exceptions are written into the law (for example service dogs, pets that are too old or in poor health etc.).
Judie Mancuso, Campaign Director for the California Healthy Pets Coalition claims passage of the bill
“will save taxpayers millions of dollars and provide a humane alternative to euthanizing hundreds of thousands of unwanted animals who end up in local shelters”.
This bill is controversial but it does raise some interesting points and is drawing much needed attention to the issue. Here is a link listing some of the opposing views.
Wherever you stand on the issue you should:
1. Spay/neuter your own cat
2. Make people aware that it is NOT OK to abandon cats that they no longer want to care for.