National Geographic Daily News
Stray cats in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Stray cats wander through Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2007.

Photograph by Josh Estley, Bloomberg/Getty Images

Christine Dell'Amore

National Geographic News

Updated March 26, 2013

Update: Ted Williams issued an apology March 26 on the Audubon Magazine website, calling his op-ed on feral cats "bad journalism and bad judgment." The same day, Audubon President David Yarnold announced that Williams would begin writing for the magazine again in the July/August issue.

How should we handle free-roaming domestic cats? That question, which we posed last week, has sparked a few, well, catfights among our commenters.

Our story came in response to a March 14 opinion piece in the Orlando Sentinel, in which Ted Williams—then editor-at-large for Audubon Magazine—advocated for trapping and euthanizing feral cats due to their rampant hunting of birds and their reputation for carrying diseases like toxoplasmosis.

He also pointed out that some cat advocates have blocked the registration of Tylenol as a feral-cat poison.

In a March 21 addendum to his story, Williams wrote: "In my recent op-ed I reported that a common over-the-counter drug, an effective and selective poison for feral cats, had not been registered for this use because of pressure from feral-cat advocacy groups."

"While the statement was not inaccurate, it was unwise because readers might construe it as a suggestion to go out and start poisoning feral cats. What's more, the statement could be, indeed was, manipulated by feral-cat advocates into something I didn't write or intend."

As of Monday afternoon, more than 340 National Geographic readers have weighed in on the contentious issue of whether to euthanize or poison some of the 80-million-plus domestic cats that roam outdoors in the United States. (Watch a video about the secret lives of cats.)

Many of the comments conveyed strong emotions, such as from Eric Hutcheson, who wrote: "I hope the cats all gang up and attack Mr. Williams ... what a cruel heartless man!" and Jim Read, who wrote: "Cats are the devil's pet. Euthanize them."

Terri Terri vowed: "If anyone poisons a cat in my vicinity, you are going to find me outside picking off birds with my slingshot and piling them up on my lawn like trophies. Yup, go ahead bird lovers!"

Feral-Cat Solutions

Other readers focused on turning the conversation to solutions. For instance, much of the discussion focused on the growing practice of trap-neuter-return (TNR), in which cats are trapped, neutered, and then returned to the wild so they can't reproduce.

"When it comes to management, TNR is proven to be the least costly, most efficient and humane way of stabilizing the feral cat populations," said commenter Margot Lee.

"TNR seems expensive and redundant. Why release the beast back into the wild-allowing it to continue killing native birds-after it's already been caught?" said Aaron Young. (Also see "Meow! Claws out on Facebook Over Killer Cat Stats.")

Suggested R. Ong: "How about gathering all the cats and placing them in a forest or something, just like wildlife reserves?"

Still others emphasized people's role in the problem.

"And how many wild creatures do WE kill, directly or indirectly through our actions, habitat destruction, and environmental pollution?" asked George Russert.

"Instead of laws about poisoning animals we should concentrate on laws about the responsibility of owning animals," noted meg mangan.

Animal Lovers Fail?

The most liked comment came from Kat Hentsch, a self-described veterinary professional.

"Let's get personal: Until you've seen a feral cat suffering from multiple diseases and disorders, smelled the rancid flesh resulting from abscessed fight wounds or broken and infected teeth; seen a degloving injury from an encounter with a car, watched a kitten die in your hands from being bled to death by fleas, or attempt to treat a cat poisoned by something like Tylenol without success, you have no business weighing in on how inhumane it is to euthanize these animals," Hentsch wrote.

Responded Cynthia Gee, "So I take it that you want to kill off all of the native wild animals too, in order to prevent them from suffering from these same things? You sound like a PETA nut."

Whatever their views, most agreed there need to be changes in the way feral and free-roaming domestic cats are handled in the United States.

"If we are a nation of animal lovers," wrote Coralie m., "then we are doing a very poor job."

Keep the comments coming: What do you think should be done about feral cats?

Connect with Christine Dell'Amore via Twitter and Google+

88 comments
Shaylen Snarski
Shaylen Snarski

I have feral cats where I live, I feed them and give them water on a regular basis for two reasons, 1) so they don't starve or dehydrate and suffer and 2) so they don't need to kill other animals to survive. I've rescued and found homes for some of the kittens I was able to get on time and the ones that could not be socialized I did the spade and release approach. They are not flea ridden or diseased thank God and thanks to the fact that it's a good neighborhood with some decent and caring people. But how these cats became feral in the first place was because of irresponsible owners who abandoned their cats and other owners who did not spade/neuter their cats and let them outside to inevitably breed. Cats are NOT wild animals and are NOT meant to be outside. They are amazing, beautiful and HIGHLY intelligent and loving creatures and they are NOT to blame for any of this. The answer isn't in  what to do with the cats, it's what to do with the OWNERS!!! Until people start thinking STRAIGHT and REALISTICALLY and approach the actual only SOURCE of the problem which is IRRESPONSIBLE OWNERS, this is a dead end conversation at it's WORST. Time to wake up people.

As far as dealing with the cats that have already been abandoned, the spade and release truly IS the ONLY humane approach and therefore SHOULD BE the ONLY option. We live in a sick speciesist world however, and sadly it is the most innocent beings that end up having to pay.

There needs to be strict laws (like there are with dogs) about letting your cats roam wildly for starters. It isn't safe for the cats, outdoor cats are vulnerable to disease, poisonings, wild animals, and human cruelty and also kill our declining bird population as well as other native animal. This is not the cat's fault, dogs would do the same thing, it is the OWNERS FAULT. So for all the neanderthals who want to take it out on the innocent victims; the helpless cats just being cats, go take some meds and try to think for 10 seconds.

Perhaps more importantly there needs to be STRICT laws on abandoning your pets! It is like abandoning a child. And if an owner lets their cat outside and he/she has kittens, those kittens should be legally linked to that or both owners and to leave those kittens outside should be considered abandonment.


The ONLY time any animal should be put down is if they are suffering to painful extents and nothing can be done and putting them down is the most humane approach (HUMANELY as in painless or virtually painless and quick methods only, no gas chambers, etc...) Otherwise the spade and release method is the way to go.

You can say you're "protecting them from suffering" by just killing them, but you don't go around culling homeless people do you? All life must be respected or you respect no life at all. And though the equality between all species is sadly approached the same way equality between all races was approached way back in the day, there is one thing no man can argue, that in pain and suffering, we are all equals.

Wake up people, stop blaming these poor cats, they are the VICTIMS of irresponsible and selfish human beings. The only problem here is people:

 1) Irresponsible pet owners who let their cats roam outside not taking responsibility for the important animals they kill. 

2) Irresponsible pet owners who don't spade/neuter their pets.


3) Irresponsible pet owners who knowingly let their pets out to breed and take no responsibility for their off spring.

4) Irresponsible pet owners who abandon their pets.

5) Animal breeders and kitten mills. There are TOO MANY cats without homes for one, when you breed or buy, a shelter animal dies. Secondly it is WRONG to profit off of another life. These are helpless babies we are talking about, to sell them for money is nothing short of ABANDONMENT, you don't know what will happen to them ultimately. And lastly, kitten mills just like puppy mills are a little piece of HELL on earth.

And lastly....

6) Careless and cruel people. People who see kittens under some abandoned shed and do nothing but go about their own everyday lives as if they have no moral responsibility or even the responsibility of being a citizen of wherever they may be, or rather the earth alone. And people who do horrifying and disgustingly evil things to these innocent animals such as poisoning, torturing, shooting, etc.... They're the problems more so than any feral animal that is continuously caused by man alone in the first place.

So PLEASE, can we start looking at the real problem here... PEOPLE. 

Point one finger and 3 more are pointing back at you, quite the simplest of concepts yet one so arrogantly ignored by most human beings and THAT is why these problems continue and that is the only reason why they WILL continue.

Memy Selfandi
Memy Selfandi

also of note Thomas Seberry a vet tech (everyone commenting is of course self described) who among other things commented that:

"Hello everyone. I'm a veterinary student who has had a lot of experience in TPR programs, and after a few years experience with our local cat colonies, I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't really work (even with a large vet school and literally hundreds of students to do free spays and neuters)."

Memy Selfandi
Memy Selfandi

per this article regarding the article on the original article: 

very fair to note that William's comment wasn't inaccurate just potentially misleading to those already inclined to poison cats.

I didn't think this whole debate has been about killing or poisoning "80-million-plus domestic cats" but rather what to do with the strays (feral and wild are misnomers as cats are neither in N. America) as well as urging cat owners to keep their pets inside.

Cynthia Gee: Cats are not wild.   

Jim Read: Has a devilish sort of sense of humor.

Dato Dananjaya
Dato Dananjaya

i  live in Jakarta, many native animals here disappeared. such as kestrel I saw the last time 10 years ago. and feral cats last seen 1 year ago

Steve Richko
Steve Richko

I know alot of cats where i live here in florida are left to fend for themselves after the owners move away, and it got worse when the economy fell.

Steve Richko
Steve Richko

I love both cats and birds and i want no harm to either. But it always seems these people who complain that the cats are killing the birds are the same people who complain all the time that the birds leave their droppings evey where and bird feeders cause rats and other unwanted pests. Feral cats have been here since the pilgrims came here and should be never just killed off because they do what nature tells them to do.

Thomas Seberry
Thomas Seberry

Hello everyone. I'm a veterinary student who has had a lot of experience in TPR programs, and after a few years experience with our local cat colonies, I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't really work (even with a large vet school and literally hundreds of students to do free spays and neuters). However, we run into the same problem with euthanasia, and I do think its cruel to euthanize young healthy animals. I'd like to put a new spin on things. I think its time that we really start to educate and crack down on people who let loose their cats that form these colonies. If we, as a general rule, make it the norm to keep cats inside, we can deal with the current wild cat colonies using more humane methods (TPR, perhaps adoption). The bottom line is that its going to take all of us to take care of this problem, and we have to take responsibility in creating the solution together in a civilized and constructive way for us to deal with it.

John Boyd
John Boyd

Feral cats are and invasive species, and deserve no more and no less consideration than any other intruding lifeform. Where they are causing little or no harm, leave them alone; they're occupying the niche of native predators WE have displaced. Where they ARE a problem, their population should be controlled or eliminated. I love cats as pets, but there can be too much of a good thing, and feral cats are wild animals and NO ONE'S "pets".

Kathy Harris
Kathy Harris

Trap-Neuter-Return should work out in a few short years. Evidence shows that the lifespan of a cat with access to the outdoors is scarily shortened compared with that of cats kept indoors. For some feral cats, 1 - 3 years is the expected lifespan. If the fertility of ferals is reined in, the likely outcome is that the number of cats born in the wild will decline. Trap-Neuter-Return is a good way of managing a cat population that has overwhelmed native species. However, T-N-R does not address what can be done about people who continually release their unwanted pets into the outdoors.

Tony Cox
Tony Cox

In Australia, we have a massive problem with feral cats and other introduced species. They destroy the environment and all the native fauna. 

As with a lot of pets these days, people buy them without understanding what it takes to look after them. When they get bored or can't deal with the responsibility of looking after them, they just dump them out in the bush. It is a shame that there are no laws requiring the mandatory neutering of cats when they are bought.  Unfortunately, the existing penalties for not looking after or dumping your animals isn't a deterrent and no government or council will introduce a harder sentence.

Putting up feeding stations and the like, isn't a solution. These things can affect natural animal behaviour and these creatures in turn could become pests, over breed and run rampant. It is about balance. If we have introduced something that is decimating native populations, then we have a responsibility to fix it. Humanely.

Whilst I agree that it is the problem with the owners not taking responsibility for their animals, that doesn't save the native creatures from being killed. The only way we can deal with that is to destroy them as humanely as possible. 

Lina Hassen
Lina Hassen

Seriously, these cats are living things and we can't just kill them because they carry a disease or two! Why don't these people just spay/neuter them then set them back!

Kathleen Hillman
Kathleen Hillman

I think we should euthanize the people who deposit unwanted litters of kittens in other people's backyards....

John Legowik
John Legowik

The arguments for and against treatment of feral cats are both valid.  However, as WE as humans created the problem, I see no reason to KILL what we find inconvenient.  I recently saw an excellent piece on the History 2 channel showing an active catch and release and tag program for feral cats in New Orleans.  The animals were trapped, neutered or spayed, given shots and treated for  injuries and fleas and released where they were found.    Had we not as humans abused our stewardship of our pets and environment, the problem wouldn't exist in the first place.  We have decimated the natural environment of animals and birds forcing them to live in rather bizarre situations.  It is morally up to us to fix the problems that we created not by KILLING but by fixing the problems we have caused.  More bird houses (cat proof of course) bird feeding stations.  Wild animal feeding stations (yes that means feral cats) and control by spaying and neutering the overpopulation.  We should safeguard our trash so as not to attract animals...dogs, cats, raccoon, possom, aligators, etc...... We should try to cure or treat the sick or injured animals rather than using euthanasia as a first solution.  Of course, some times it is necessary when the animal cannot be cured, but it should be used only as a last resort.   Use community service to trap and fix the animals.   Guidance by a vet would be all that would be needed.  We MUST fix our self created problems in a humane way (though the human 'way' seems to be to kill anything it finds convenient)/.   Now that is a real problem that needs to be addressed.

Brian Hodges
Brian Hodges

Tie up all of your garbage. Encourage those who are in your neighborhood to try and do the same thing. Have deterrents in your lawn. Try and not kill animals who are only around because too many people leave too much --old food-- out, as if it was dry, natural, biodegradeable trash, when, in fact it will either end up rotting in the street or another's lawn, or, attracting more nuisances, for -the same- people who leave all of this out, in their yard

Julia I.
Julia I.

I believe that killing feral cats should be allowed- they reproduce rapidly, kill animals, and can carry/ spread diseases. SW TANG: Although the disease did start in rats, the cats were at fault for the rapid spread of the disease.

Herman Kirkpatrick
Herman Kirkpatrick

It is reasonable and desirable to eliminate feral cats. There are many things that we cannot control, but this is a problem that we can. Kill them humanely and the problem is eventually solved. They are annoying pests, not pets and should be controlled. I know that in the country most farmers and ranchers kill them regularly because of the harm that they do. Why do cat advocates deny all the negative aspects of feral cats? Let's be advocates for humans, not destructive feral cats.

R. Sorensen
R. Sorensen

http://cedarcountyvet.com/30.htm

Makes sense.

I do also believe we need legislation making it compulsory for those who are not licensed breeders to have all pets spayed or neutered; additionally requiring that pets may only be purchased through licensed breeders or through adoption agencies.

S.w. Tsang
S.w. Tsang

what nature advocate said was all bull. i did google on the oregon man who was bitten by a friendly stray cat. and the communicate disease coordinator Karen Yeargain stated plague occurs regularly now.  and the plague was from a rodent NOT the cat or cats ! She also stated, it is the role of cats to keep rodent population in control near or around barns and homes.


The same thing also applied the Taos cat case which is the plague was from rodent instead of cats ! as for toxoplasma, rats are NOT pregnant wommen or people !  normal dialy washing one's hands before putting your dirty hands on your food or before cooking kills all diseases including pure hatred and lies by idiots.


Courtney Vaughan
Courtney Vaughan

I don't think we, as humans, have a right to decide to kill a living creature simply because we find it "threatening" to us. While toxo can be harmful to humans, rather than using our intellects and our ability to rationalize euthanizing feral cats, why don't we come up with a solution to stop cat populations from running rampant? Clearly, we are doing something wrong if we are opting to murder the animals we domesticated to become our companions.

And the argument about birds--that's the circle of life, but euthanizing feral cats because they've become overpopulated is not.

We are responsible for our animals, especially those we domesticated, and we need to find an ethical solution that does not involve exerting our "superiority" over other living beings simply because we think we have more of a right to life than they do. It is our moral duty as humans to be the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Tee Kay
Tee Kay

Inside Cat = Domestic – Outside Cat = Feral

Feral animals need to be dealt with in a way that they cannot possibly harm our native animals.

meg mangan
meg mangan

@Memy Selfandi Perhaps I have missed earlier posts of yours but as a vet tech I would assume that neuter/spay would just be something that so many well meaning people seem to miss. I have 7 ferals ( they are no longer feral, all fixed, vaccinated and I took only adults when I built a heated shelter (5 acres).  I am very allergic to anything with fur or feathers,   One has moved in and he had CAT scans today because he is constantly stuffy,The other 6 live on in a heated shelter on our 5 acres that abuts 400 acres. I only took adults because I know in a shelter they would hide at the back of a cage. My landscapers, tree guys, lawn guys, all know not to go to close.  The have a fairly large heated garden shed, Everone is disease free, except for herpes, which is NOT transmittable to humans. I took in 9 in December (I am very allergic),1 fled/1dead of heart attack.  So now there are 7.Stretch, stunning 3 yr old tux from under a dumpster who is draped over me right nowl  The other 6 are at the bottom of the property with daily fresh water, dry food and wetfood with L-lysine and coat additives at sunsets each evening after which kitty OLYMPICS commence.  I watch cats that seemed crippled play on my lawn for hours. Not kittens. 3 year old females who had probably had 6 litters when she got to me (Miss Midnight).  I am blown away by their elegance, in 6 months they all will sit on my lap.    I am blown away by the fact that anything that could have been treated so terribly,could now have a paw draped on this keyboard.  I spent 950 dollars today on one cat, but I have been blessed, there were probably 23 people here at my home taking care of things when I got home.  I believe we are all just passing through.  I believe to whom much is given much is expected.  I also believe that the ability to understand any form of life that is terrorized or hurting is not only our right, but our duty to intervene makes the fact that we consider ourselves superior caretakers as well acceptable.  A kitten that is born behind a bakery to a mom who has scratched it out as best she could to provide, this is a solvable problem.  As Mr. Sneezy, to my right will attest, they know, theySO know when you have saved them, 

.

Memy Selfandi
Memy Selfandi

@Steve Richko Wow, since the pilgrims!!!!?  Seriously that seems like a long time if you are looking at just your or my lifetime AND that isn't very long at all especially considering the cats are a big factor in wiping out species that have been here for millions of years and with our imbalanced assistance are doing so in a mere 200 years.  

Memy Selfandi
Memy Selfandi

@Thomas Seberry if you say that re TNR...

I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't really work (even with a large vet school and literally hundreds of students to do free spays and neuters). "  and then that "we run into the same problem with euthanasia" 

what do you mean the same problem?  Too few resources?

If that is the case isn't euthanasia less resource intensive?

it is cruel too don't you feel to kill young healthy animals that did not evolve with cats in N. America by breeding and releasing strays in vast numbers who in turn disproportionately kill those animals?

Your suggestion seems an imperative one and this is not a problem created by one factor nor will it be solved by one approach.  Your suggestion speak to prevention which I think we all agree about here and still what to do about the current population created by generations of collective ignorance as well as some callous indifference is what we are needing to address but at odd about euthanasia and about releasing.

here is some guidance by a vet....excerpt below and the rest of her informative post can be foudn at the link where she commented.

Kat Hentsch

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/03/130320-feral-cats-euthanize-ted-williams-audubon-science#

Let's get personal: until you've seen a feral cat suffering from multiple diseases and disorders, smelled the rancid flesh resulting from abscessed fight wounds or broken and infected teeth; seen a degloving injury from an encounter with a car, watched a kitten die in your hands from being bled to death by fleas, or attempt to treat a cat poisoned by something like Tylenol without success, you have no business weighing in on how inhumane it is to euthanize these animals.  It is inhumane that they are made to live this way in the first place, and it would be inhumane to let them continue to live in pain and turmoil, dying slowly due to humanity's mistakes.  It is a gift we are able to give them to die painlessly.


Nature Advocate
Nature Advocate

@Thomas Seberry

I worry about you being a veterinarian student and not realizing that any animal taken from the wild that is intended for any sector of the pet-trade and not knowing its vaccination history (if any) must be quarantined for at least a 6 month period to ensure that they don't have rabies. (Not 100% certain, but relatively sure, since the incubation period for rabies can be as long as 11 months, and one rare case being 6 years.)

The vaccine does not CURE them of rabies if they already have it.

This is why rabid kittens and cats are now being adopted direct from shelters that support TNR programs in their areas. (For one example of hundreds, Google for: rabid kitten adopted wake county)

What kind of vet school are you going to where they don't even teach these simple basics that are known by every airline employee, transportation system that carries animals and pets, and every border patrol that must quarantine every pet for that long for precisely these reasons. Your school needs to be investigated for criminal negligence. Which one is it again?

Nature Advocate
Nature Advocate

@Thomas Seberry 

People who let cats roam free only do so because they think their cats are going to live happy lives chasing birds and butterflies (both are valuable native species) or someone else will take care of their unwanted cat for them. It's harsh, but if they realize that that cat is going to die within hours or days from them having dumped it, the dumping stops -- 100%. And they can't just believe it MIGHT happen, they have to know that IT WILL happen. It worked where I live! Shot and buried hundreds of cats over a 2 season period. I've not seen even ONE cat in THREE YEARS now.

I don't see anyone dumping cats where I live anymore. They don't even adopt more than can be kept under lock & key 24/7. When driving through the area I don't see even one cat on anyone's doorsteps anymore. I always keep an eye out to see if there are more cats that will have to be shot one day. And if I'll have to leave fish-oil trails on all the roadsides again, leading right to my IR surveillance system and laser-sighted rifle. (Got more than 70% of the hundreds of them in the area this way; VERY effective if you have criminally-negligent problem-neighbors where you live too.)

Invasive species cats that are allowed to hunt native species instead themselves get hunted! No excuses, no alibis, no delay -- NO EXCEPTIONS. Everyone in my area has learned that if they leave their cat unsupervised it means certain death for their cat -- often counted in hours from the time it was allowed to roam.

Everyone should learn from this simple lesson. The quickest way to solve an unwanted animal and irresponsible pet-owner problem is to let everyone know that you will quickly and humanely destroy every last one of their unwanted, uncared-for, or unsupervised animals for them. They either grow up fast or, far more plausible, dump their animals elsewhere to become someone else's problem.

You can't be an enabler of criminally irresponsible spineless and heartless idiots or they remain that way. (At least where you live, anyway.)

IF THERE ARE NOT DIRECT AND IMMEDIATE IRREVERSIBLE CONSEQUENCES TO THEIR CRIMINALLY-NEGLIGENT AND CRIMINALLY-IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIORS AND VALUES THEN THEY WILL LEARN *NOTHING*.

Memy Selfandi
Memy Selfandi

@John Boyd Well feral cats are not really wild in N. America they are strays and descendants of strays but otherwise ....liked!

Memy Selfandi
Memy Selfandi

@Kathy Harris House cats live 10+ years and feral cats (no such thing..they are all strays) suffer greatly in the few years they live as well articulated though heartbreaking to read by a vet , Kat Hentish, who has to deal with the reality we'd all rather not: 

The excerpt below is take from her very informative comment in general at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/03/130320-feral-cats-euthanize-ted-williams-audubon-science#

'Let's get personal: until you've seen a feral cat suffering from multiple diseases and disorders, smelled the rancid flesh resulting from abscessed fight wounds or broken and infected teeth; seen a degloving injury from an encounter with a car, watched a kitten die in your hands from being bled to death by fleas, or attempt to treat a cat poisoned by something like Tylenol without success, you have no business weighing in on how inhumane it is to euthanize these animals.  It is inhumane that they are made to live this way in the first place, and it would be inhumane to let them continue to live in pain and turmoil, dying slowly due to humanity's mistakes.  It is a gift we are able to give them to die painlessly.'

Nature Advocate
Nature Advocate

@Kathy HarrisTell that to the TNR advocates that run around claiming how proud they are of their TNR colonies that have managed to reduce cats in their areas -- for OVER 25 years now. (That's over a quarter of a century.)

The practice of TNR only encourages everyone else to dump their cats. Why should they have to grow a spine and get the strength of heart required to euthanize one of their unwanted cats? "Oh LOOK! Over there! That's one of those TNR colonies! Let's put it there. Kathy Harris will take care of it for us! Problem solved!" And off they drive ...

Guess what happens to every town or county that enacts "No Kill" policies for their shelters too? Word spreads in a couple of weeks and every adjoining town, county, nearby state, and even animal shelter who doesn't want to deal with the costs; quietly rounds up all their unwanted cats and dumps them off in the nearest "No Kill" zone. Those people are BEGGING to take care of everyone's unwanted animals! So let's help them!

 See how that works?

Google for (include quotes): "You just can't be an enabler of criminally irresponsible spineless and heartless idiots -- or they remain that way. (At least where you live, anyway.)"

Also Google for: "The TNR Con-Game"

To get a beginner's lesson in what we are all up against.

Memy Selfandi
Memy Selfandi

@Lina Hassen Send them back ?

as well articulated though heartbreaking to read, a comment by a vet , Kat Hentish, who has to deal with the reality we'd all rather not: 

The excerpt below is take from her very informative comment in general athttp://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/03/130320-feral-cats-euthanize-ted-williams-audubon-science#

'Let's get personal: until you've seen a feral cat suffering from multiple diseases and disorders, smelled the rancid flesh resulting from abscessed fight wounds or broken and infected teeth; seen a degloving injury from an encounter with a car, watched a kitten die in your hands from being bled to death by fleas, or attempt to treat a cat poisoned by something like Tylenol without success, you have no business weighing in on how inhumane it is to euthanize these animals.  It is inhumane that they are made to live this way in the first place, and it would be inhumane to let them continue to live in pain and turmoil, dying slowly due to humanity's mistakes.  It is a gift we are able to give them to die painlessly.'

Memy Selfandi
Memy Selfandi

@John Legowik Here is some guidance from a vet...as well articulated though heartbreaking to read, a comment by a vet , Kat Hentish, who has to deal with the reality we'd all rather not: 

The excerpt below is take from her very informative comment in general athttp://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/03/130320-feral-cats-euthanize-ted-williams-audubon-science#

'Let's get personal: until you've seen a feral cat suffering from multiple diseases and disorders, smelled the rancid flesh resulting from abscessed fight wounds or broken and infected teeth; seen a degloving injury from an encounter with a car, watched a kitten die in your hands from being bled to death by fleas, or attempt to treat a cat poisoned by something like Tylenol without success, you have no business weighing in on how inhumane it is to euthanize these animals.  It is inhumane that they are made to live this way in the first place, and it would be inhumane to let them continue to live in pain and turmoil, dying slowly due to humanity's mistakes.  It is a gift we are able to give them to die painlessly.'

Debra Dacchille
Debra Dacchille

@Julia I. 

just remember this...without feral cats, rats and mice will overpopulate and spread their diseases.  Mother Nature knows that having cats around will cut down the population of rats.  That's how it was handled when ships were the way to travel years and years ago. They were overrun by rats and disease and then put cats onboard and the problem was solved...Don't be too hasty and want to Kill, Kill, Kill.  I guess you have never owned a cat have you?

Lina Hassen
Lina Hassen

@Julia I.  Killing feral cats!? Thats crazy, they are animals too! We can just spay/neuter them! Then put them back!

S.w. Tsang
S.w. Tsang

@Julia I. @Julia I. @Julia I. How many cases of plague u know from cats? Rapid? How many , where and how fast ? Show me the cases documented. And other from other animals or people

S.w. Tsang
S.w. Tsang

@Julia I. What disease? If u bother to read or know the fact. - it is from rats

As the disease coordinator stated, cats are there to keep rodent number down! If rats carry plague, and cats keep rodent number down, more cats - fewer rats which leads to fewer cases of plague. Use your brain instead of your ego and pure hate .

lisa bean
lisa bean

@Herman Kirkpatrick  cats can be destructive no doubt but how can you suggest we be advocates for humans when they not only are 10x more destructive and overpopulated than cats but as a species we spread disease quicker than any other on earth 

lisa bean
lisa bean

@Tee Kay It not that black and white many peoples house pets and barn cats are not feral. Feral by definition is existing in a wild or untamed state i.e. not friendly. 

Thomas Seberry
Thomas Seberry

@meg mangan @Memy Selfandi  

Thank you for your comments! You hit on what is essentially the main issue. I helped with the care of a feral cat my parents adopted, and she was a wonderful addition to the family. I personally think it is cruel and wrong to euthanize animals that are in the prime of their life because of circumstances that we placed them in. However, we have to weigh that against their impact on the environment. Make no mistake, cats are responsible for an ungodly amount of wildlife destruction. For instance, in addition to the damage DDT caused, cats were a main contributor to the extinction of the dusky seaside sparrow. Their are several other species currently going extinct that cats are a large contributor to: such as the Florida Scrub Jay and the Marsh Rabbit among several others. We have to weigh our devotion and love for our feral cats against the health of our Florida environment and the ability of our children to be able to go out and see creatures like the Scrub Jay and the Marsh Rabbit. There's no easy answer, but if we work together, we'll do a much better job than if we simply argued back and forth without proposing serious (and effective) solutions to the problem.

Memy Selfandi
Memy Selfandi

@Nature Advocate @Thomas Seberry Ouch Nature Advocate...once again good info delivered with some sour sauce.  Humans are after all part of Nature for which you say you're an advocate.  Worries me when someone as knowledgable as yourself casts a dark and punitive shadow across a path you just illuminated.  :-( 

Memy Selfandi
Memy Selfandi

@Debra Dacchille @Julia I. Ships are lacking the owls and other creatures who need the food the cats kill for fun.  Owls don't have lodging to retreat to, there are dwindling numbers of them and they don't get kibble.  If there were a zillion owls perhaps some corporation would find it profitable to put lots of adds on TV and the web showing humans feeding cans or gourmet food to owls.  There are other creatures that will control the populations you speak of and whom need the food.  

The bravest, most informed cat lovers know that the kindest thing to do is face reality ...such as the vet ...excerpt below and the rest of her informative post can be foudn at the link where she commented.

Kat Hentsch

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/03/130320-feral-cats-euthanize-ted-williams-audubon-science#

Let's get personal: until you've seen a feral cat suffering from multiple diseases and disorders, smelled the rancid flesh resulting from abscessed fight wounds or broken and infected teeth; seen a degloving injury from an encounter with a car, watched a kitten die in your hands from being bled to death by fleas, or attempt to treat a cat poisoned by something like Tylenol without success, you have no business weighing in on how inhumane it is to euthanize these animals.  It is inhumane that they are made to live this way in the first place, and it would be inhumane to let them continue to live in pain and turmoil, dying slowly due to humanity's mistakes.  It is a gift we are able to give them to die painlessly.

Memy Selfandi
Memy Selfandi

@lisa bean @Tee Kay No such thing as a feral cat in N. America...they are all strays descendant from house cats or strays. They are not equipped to live in the wilds and suffer greatly at the expense of good intentioned folks imagining the kitties are having a grand ole time as fierce hunters or harmless cuties....

here is some guidance by a vet....excerpt below and the rest of her informative post can be foudn at the link where she commented.

Kat Hentsch

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/03/130320-feral-cats-euthanize-ted-williams-audubon-science#

Let's get personal: until you've seen a feral cat suffering from multiple diseases and disorders, smelled the rancid flesh resulting from abscessed fight wounds or broken and infected teeth; seen a degloving injury from an encounter with a car, watched a kitten die in your hands from being bled to death by fleas, or attempt to treat a cat poisoned by something like Tylenol without success, you have no business weighing in on how inhumane it is to euthanize these animals.  It is inhumane that they are made to live this way in the first place, and it would be inhumane to let them continue to live in pain and turmoil, dying slowly due to humanity's mistakes.  It is a gift we are able to give them to die painlessly.

Nature Advocate
Nature Advocate

@lisa bean @Tee Kay  

Yes, it IS that black and white. All the people in my area claimed that the 100's of cats invading my lands had all been sterilized. About half with collars on them. I believed them. Then one day I noticed a tom that wasn't sterilized. Shot him dead. One night I shot a collared cat. That too was not sterilized. 100's of shot-dead cats later, collared and not, and NOT ONE of them was sterilized. I checked each one before dumping it in its well-deserved hole in the ground. 

STRAY PET CATS ARE THE VERY SOURCE OF EVERY LAST FERAL CAT -- IF YOU DON'T DESTROY EVERY STRAY CAT TOO THEN YOU HAVE DONE *NOTHING* TO STOP THE FERAL CAT PROBLEM.

It worked where I live. I've not seen even ONE cat in over 3 years now.

Go tell your lies to someone who will believe them. I certainly don't believe any cat-lickers lies and deceptions anymore.

Nature Advocate
Nature Advocate

@Thomas Seberry @Nature Advocate @Memy Selfandi 

You totally LIE. You are NOT "on the lookout and (be) open to better solutions that present effective and humane ways of population control."

I already presented you with the ONLY solution that actually works. One that is faster than cats can breed or the rate at which criminally-irresponsible cat-lickers let more be born and dumped outdoors, is even MORE HUMANE than methods that vets and shelters use, is affordable by any individual or any community of any size ($0.003-$0.08 PER cat to PERMANENTLY solve EVERY problem that cat-lickers cause with their cats: breeding, diseases, and predation of native wildlife; as well as completely stopping cat-lickers from dumping more cats ever again), and can all be done in only 2 seasons. A 100% permanent and effective solution to stop the problem, ALL problems that cat-lickers cause, right in their tracks.

Poke your eyes out some more so you don't have to face up to reality. That bliss of self-inflicted ignorance within which you wallow all your sorry life is a wonderful thing, isn't it. Too bad that it's at the expense of all other species on earth but your invasive species vermin pestilent cats.

 

Thomas Seberry
Thomas Seberry

@Nature Advocate @Memy Selfandi @Thomas Seberry  

Well, I've missed a lot! So in response to the above comments from everyone, I'd like to take some time to just speak about a few things that I haven't seen brought up in the above arguments.  The first thing that I'd like to bring up is that a TNR program is based on population control (obviously). However, the limiting factor for the success of the program is usually our ability to catch every cat in a colony. Its really hard to do. I've seen several colonies that have undergone rigorous TNR programs, only to have the colony back up to its original population within a year or two. Using controlled euthanasia would run into the same problems, since it is also, at its most basic, a population control. We simply can't catch all the cats. Another point: not all cat colonies are created alike. There are some colonies that, while they do impact wildlife, don't have an immediate, foreseeable, permanent effect on the environment. There are others that do. For instance, there is one colony that is situated right where the last remaining critically endangered Key Largo Woodrats are located. I imagine that within the year that species will be extinct, directly because of feral cats. One last point: we are trying our best to create new solutions other than euthanasia and TNR. The solutions are out there, we just have to think of them and work together. Some ideas that I've seen brought up were potential injections that could neuter male tomcats, or local town adoption events where as many feral cats as possible are captured and adopted out to homes. So, just to recall the main points: we usually don't have the ability (TNR, euthanasia or otherwise) to engage in colony control enough to depopulate a colony. We just don't have the resources. Still, if we focused our attention on specific colonies that present an immediate danger to critical species, we can actually do a lot of good. By focusing our resources on the most important colonies, we could save a tremendous amount of endangered wildlife and be effective in colony control at the same time. In addition, we should always be on the lookout and be open to better solutions that present effective and humane ways of population control. Hope it helps!

Nature Advocate
Nature Advocate

@Memy Selfandi@Nature Advocate@Thomas Seberry

No paranoia involved. That's the way humans work.

Apparently you've not read all my posts, I am fully aware of the complexity of the issue, to degrees that even the top scientists are not yet aware (e.g. bold-coat patterns bred into cats ensure starvation of native predators, etc.) And let's not even start to address the socio-political catch-22 that everyone has caught themselves in. If politicians do the right thing to save all life on the planet by demanding the deaths of all cats, they lose their jobs. If they keep their jobs and do the wrong thing, then they have sealed the fate of all life on earth -- its demise, with nothing left but cannibalistic cats left roaming the earth, humans now long gone. (This is why cat eradication is now falling into the hands of each and every individual to find methods that will cause the least waves. Politics and laws aren't going to solve it. They can't.)

And then of course we've got the psychological trap that cat-lickers have caught themselves in without them even being aware of it. Breeding cats with features that best trigger their own nurturing instincts. A self-designed genetic-engineering trap of emotional onanism from which they cannot escape.

You're telling me I'm not aware of the complexities of the issue? :-) (Did I mention the island (closed ecosystem) vs. continent (open ecosystem) issues of invasive species too and having to be cautious of which invasive species to remove first?)

Then we've got the social issue of people using cats to get attention for themselves, attention that no cat on earth can give them. (Cat-hoarders being a good example, amassing so many cats until they get the attention of their community. An attention-deficit of maximum proportions to the point of loving cats that are now dessicated under piles of their other dead cats. Think "Munchhausen by Proxy" but using cats for this instead of children.)

Oh, and another fun one that I discovered -- Google for (include quotes): Cats "Human Territorial Behavior By Expendable Proxy"

That last one is about 90% of the problem.

Yes, I think I can grasp the problem just fine. :-)

Memy Selfandi
Memy Selfandi

@Nature Advocate @Memy Selfandi @Thomas Seberry Ok Nature Advocate...cynical, inaccurate, paranoid and isolated.  We are all leaders of something somewhere and no one can be a leader of all things everywhere.  The best leaders are also aware of being a follower.  We are pack animals like no other species and hence will be leading and following as long as we exist.  Your dramatic romanticized version of pseudo darwinian isolationism has much in common with those who cling to 'happy kitties' fantasies  rather than face the more complex reality. 

Nature Advocate
Nature Advocate

@Memy Selfandi @Nature Advocate @Thomas Seberry

Humility and kindness creates hoards of mindless brain-dead followers.

Their invented leader now just parroting the brain-dead thoughts of those following them. The greatest social disasters and inhumanity to man in history were not really caused by leaders, it was caused by and carried-out by the fools that put others into leader roles for them, to parrot their mindless and ignorant thoughts.

So ... Really? Do people really want evolutionary rejects like that following them around? Nobody on earth deserves that fate! Well, except those that now got exactly what they deserved. :-)

"There are none so lost -- as those who follow." (Think about it.)

It's always good to burn the bridges behind you. :-)

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