I’m celebrating more than Cleveland’s trouncing victory over the Yankees tonight, I’m also celebrating the great news my friend Emily sent me.
Cleveland has successfully neutered over 300 feral cats since starting a program where the city pays $30 of the $40 neuter fee for feral cats brought into the Cleveland Animal Protective League. Following examples of programs like Ally Cat Allies and Washington, D.C.’s CatNIPP, Cleveland has shown its desire to be part of the modern movement of animal control by humanely Trapping, Neutering, and Releasing feral cat colonies instead of leaving them be for residents to poison, kill, and complain about.
Neutering colonies has proven more effective than killing or relocating colonies around the country. If feral cats are removed from an area, new ones will move in, fight for territory, and establish new breeding colonies. However, if feral cat colonies are simply neutered and then returned to their living area, they will continue to keep down resident rodent populations and keep out new unfixed colonies while exhibiting fewer disruptive behaviors than before the surgeries.
Cat calling (the kind done by cats, not unruly boys), fighting, territorial marking, and climatic screaming are all behaviors associated with the instinct and act of breeding. Once the relevant organs are removed the instinct to engage in such an act dies down and the associated behaviors to allow, encourage, and mark such an act die down as well. It is much easier on surrounding residents to live near a quietly neutered feral cat colony than by a caterwauling, hormone-fueled one where other neighbors try to inhumanely kill the poor creatures.
We created feral cat colonies by over-breeding and under-sterilizing house cats. Unfortunately, feral cats cannot usually be rehabilitated into homes with humans. They do not understand how to live with people and will not act like house cats. The most effective solution is thankfully the most humane in this case–trap, neuter, and release feral cat colonies to take care of the areas where they live and dramatically decrease the new kittens born, unwanted and uncared for, into the world each spring.
Kittens are cute, but kitten season is full of more death than life in our current world. Let’s get breeding down to a manageable amount so that every new kitten can be celebrated, cherished, and cared for her entire life.