Best Friends Blog
 

Opponents of community cat programs: A desperate struggle for relevance

No good deed goes unpunished.

I’ve never cared for that expression. How could I? After all, anybody who’s dedicated his or her life to saving the lives of animals knows very well the numerous rewards involved.

Still, our good deeds do sometimes attract the attention of the naysayers — an increasingly small number of opponents more interested in preserving the status quo than in implementing lifesaving programs. This is exactly what happened recently in Miami-Dade County, Florida, following news of the success Miami-Dade Animal Services (MDAS) is having with their Trap-treat-and-return program. According to a story in the Miami-Herald, approximately 30 percent of cats brought into MDAS last year were killed, compared with about 75 percent in 2011.

Obviously, there’s much more work to be done if Miami-Dade is going to fulfill their commitment to become a no-kill community — including, of course, the adoption of policies that don’t discriminate against pit-bull-terrier-type dogs — but their progress with cats is both undeniable and commendable.

But, just five days after the Herald ran the story about MDAS’ community cat program, columnist Fred Grimm lambasted and ridiculed elected officials for ignoring the relevant science in creating Miami-Dade’s program, which, he argues, “amounts to songbird annihilation, a government-sanctioned massacre of birds, lizards and small animals.” In addition to all the usual scaremongering, Grimm promised that “there will be expensive repercussions” and lawsuits.

All of this is, quite frankly, getting old. As is the so-called science Grimm refers to, which, more often than not, has little to do with science and lots to do with agenda-driven attempts (typically at taxpayer expense) to encourage lethal roundups of free-roaming cats. We’ve been hearing the same apocalyptic predications for years now. Miami-Dade is just the most recent instance.

Community cat programs are, contrary to what naysayers would have us believe, the most humane and effective approach for managing stray, abandoned and “feral” cats. It should be obvious, but it’s a point that bears repeating: Sterilized and vaccinated cats are better for the environment than intact and unvaccinated cats, and by definition they do not reproduce.

Nevertheless, it’s a point that Grimm and his fellow opponents conveniently ignore, implying that the “traditional” approach is working — that Miami-Dade can kill its way out of the “feral cat problem.” In fact, no community that went down that path ever saw the problem solved.

Grimm misses the larger point, too: Policymakers, and the public to which they are accountable, are fed up with a lethal approach that, for generations now, has proved costly, ineffective and unpalatable. The majority of the public wants trap/neuter/return (TNR) programs because killing cats is as unpopular as poison ivy.

By offering the public a humane, cost-effective method for managing the population of unowned, free-roaming cats, community cat programs, such as Miami-Dade’s, provide a considerable benefit to the entire community — and do a whole lot more to protect wildlife than any inflammatory rant in a daily newspaper ever will.

If you are a resident of Miami-Dade County, please click here to thank your community officials for standing up for cats. They need our support now more than ever.

Francis Battista
Co-founder
Best Friends Animal Society

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry, I disagree. I don’t think returning cats to the outdoors is humane treatment at all. And I also disagree that “the majority of the public wants tnr”. Because the majority of the public has no idea what tnr even is. I don’t understand why it is thought that if you are against tnr you are for the “status quo” or for euthanasia at all. I am not. I don’t think killing animals is ever the answer. Why is it ok to put cats outside to fend for themselves ok? Would you ever recommend this be done to dogs? No. You would not. Cats deserve the same considerations that dogs do. They can’t live safe, happy lives trying to fend for themselves outside roaming the streets or anywhere else for that matter. I am offended by your assumption that because I don’t agree with tnr that I am for euthanasia. Perhaps the number of cats who were euthanized in the shelters you mentioned has gone down because they accept less animals and had nothing to do with tnr. It hasn’t been the answer for the past 30 years, why would the future be any different?

    I like the Best Friends sanctuary a lot and am a frequent donator, but I do not like this aspect of their philosophy or practices. Cats belong indoors. Just like dogs.

  • MelissaLMiller

    Hi, and thanks for your note.

    At Best Friends, we advocate for cats to be kept indoors, but that does nothing to address the cats that are already outside (most of whom were born outside and behaviorally are not fit for a home environment). Because of that, we continue to support aggressive trap/neuter/return as a safe and humane community approach to reducing the numbers of free roaming cats. Best Friends does not believe that killing these community cats is the ever the solution – we simply do not advocate killing. We’ve proven that T/N/R is a humane and effective way to reduce the number of community cats – just look at the work being done in communities like Albuquerque. (http://bestfriends.org/News-And-Features/News/Albuquerque-community-cat-program-is-saving-them-all/). We’d love for you to read through some of our T/N/R articles and blogs (http://blogs.bestfriends.org/index.php/tag/community-cats/) and take a look at why we feel this is the best solution for all involved. You can also learn more about our work through our Cat Initiatives here: http://bestfriends.org/What-We-Do/Our-Work/Initiatives/Cat-Initiatives/.

    We hope this helps to clarify our stance on the issue. Thank you for all you do for the animals and for all that you do to support Best Friends.

    Sincerely,
    Melissa Miller
    New Media Coordinator

  • Jbot

    TNR works incredibly well.
    The 13 I got neutered and spayed are down to 3 now, in just a few years.
    They have great lives, I witness this on a daily basis.
    I, like many other cat caretakers, provide shelter and vet care when needed.
    Ferals rule!

  • TNR Researcher

    Here’s another good TNR facts site that was put up not long ago. I just ran across this a few days ago.

    tnrfactcheck D0T org SLASH tnr-handbook D0T html

    There are tomes of links and information there that give to everyone the clearest picture of all of what TNR is really all about. Everyone involved in TNR might be particularly pleased with the photos there of what their loving euthanasia by “attrition” truly looks like.

  • TNR Researcher

    Are you aware that forcing ANY domesticated animals to fight each other for their very survival is an incarcerable crime with heavy fines and punishment in every state of the USA? Ask your lawyer if you are headed to prison for animal abuse and animal torture for forcing cats to fight each other for territory and their very lives. If they are a worthwhile lawyer of any kind their answer will be a resounding, “yes”.

  • Michelle Davis

    The reason people state you are for euthanasia if you are against TNR is because those are the only two options for feral cats. You cannot house a feral cat indoors. So what is your option for feral cats? Trap them and do WHAT with them? Dogs present a safety risk that cast do not…completely different issue.

  • TNR Researcher

    Another interesting experiment. They wanted to find out if dogs could possibly transmit cat-shat Toxoplasma gondii oocysts. A dog infected with T. gondii from a source-cat cannot. That stage of the parasite’s life-cycle is 100% dependent on cat-physiology as its primary reproductive host. But if dogs ingest oocyst-laden cat-feces then dogs can pass the oocysts produced by cats & their common brain-hijacking parasite.

    ncbi D0T nlm D0T nih D0T gov SLASH pubmed/9477489?dopt=Abstract&holding=f1000,f1000m,isrctn

    It is interesting to note: That these Toxoplasma gondii oocysts shed by cats can even survive the hydrochloric stomach acids for the duration that they remain in a mammal’s digestive tract. And then they doubt my words when I tell them of the studies where they found that this parasite’s oocysts (seeds) can even survive washing your hands in bleach. You could wash your hands and garden vegetables in hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes for the same duration that food remains in an animal’s digestive tract and even that won’t destroy it. Your hands would be dissolved into a digestible pulp long before you could kill the Toxoplasma gondii oocysts.

    Yeah, “basic hygiene” is going to keep your kids safe from going blind sometime during their life, becoming autistic, or die if they ever require any immunosuppressive therapies during their lifetime if they had ever played in a sandbox that a neighbor’s cat has defecated in.

    Go ahead everyone, drink the cat-lickers’ Kool-Aid.

  • TNR Researcher

    Then there’s cats’ most insidious disease of all, their Toxoplasma gondii parasite that cats spread through their feces into all other animals. This is how humans get it in their dinner-meats, cats roaming around stockyards and farms (herbivores can contract this parasite in no other way). This is why cats are routinely destroyed around gestating livestock or important wildlife by shooting or drowning them. So those animals won’t suffer from the same things that can happen to the unborn fetus of any pregnant woman. (Miscarriages, still-births, hydrocephaly, and microcephaly.) It can make you blind or even kill you at any time during your life once you’ve been infected. It becomes a permanent lifetime parasite in your mind, killing you when your immune system becomes compromised by disease or chemo and immunosuppressive therapies. It can last over a year in any soils or waters and not even washing your hands or garden vegetables in bleach will destroy the oocysts. Contrary to cat-lickers’ self-deceptive myths, a cat can become reinfected many times during its life and spread millions of oocysts each time. It’s now linked to the cause of autism, schizophrenia, memory-loss, and brain cancers; as well as increasing the suicide rate in women almost 2-fold even though they’ve never suffered from any mental or emotional health issues previously. This parasite is also killing off rare and endangered marine-mammals along all coastlines and inland river-otters from cats’ T. gondii oocysts in run-off from the land, the oocysts surviving even in saltwater. A catastrophic ecological disaster of multi-continent-sized proportions worse than any oil-spill that has ever existed or could even be imagined.

    Its strange life cycle is meant to infect rodents. Any rodents infected with it lose their fear of cats and are attracted to cat urine.

    scitizen D0T com SLASH neuroscience/parasite-hijacks-the-mind-of-its-host_a-23-509 D0T html

    Cats attract rodents to your home with their whole slew of diseases (like The Plague from rats and fleas, many people have died from cat-transmitted Plague in the USA already, it is alive and well and being spread by cats today). If you want rodents in your home keep cats outside of it to attract diseased rodents to your area. I experienced this phenomenon (as have many others), and all rodent problems disappeared after I shot and buried every last one of hundreds of cats on my lands.

  • TNR Researcher

    You did know, didn’t you, that giving a rabies shot to a cat that already has rabies does not cure it of rabies? Google for: RABID KITTEN ADOPTED WAKE COUNTY (for just one example of hundreds of rabid cats adopted from outdoors). The incubation period for rabies is, on average, from 21 to 240 days, sometimes up to 11 months, one rare case being 6 years. A vetted cat can STILL transmit rabies many months later (during the last 2 weeks before it dies of rabies) if it was harvested from unknown rabies-exposure conditions with an unknown vaccination history. May one of those cats you adopt-out have rabies too. Is your liability insurance in excess of $10M? Either quarantine them for 6 or more months in a government-supervised double-walled enclosure system at your OWN expense (as required by national and international law), or euthanize them. Those are your only 2 options to be relatively certain you are not handing rabies to someone. Isn’t reality fun?

    Google for: RABIES PROMPTS CARLSBAD TNR CAT PROGRAM SUSPENSION

    Rabies outbreak caused by TNR! 50+ pets euthanized. ALL stray cats destroyed. All livestock destroyed. More than a dozen homeowners pay for their own $5,000-$8,000 rabies shots for EACH family member.

    Google for: RABIES OUTBREAK IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY

    Google for: RABID KITTEN JAMESTOWN EXPOSURE

    There’s hundreds more like those on the net showing everyone how these phenomenally ignorant and foolish cat-lickers “help” their communities by allowing TNR CAT-HOARDERS to continue their criminally negligent behavior. And contrary to these cat-lickers’ perpetual LIES, feeding stray cats TRAINS them to approach humans for food. What do you think happens to the child or foolish adult that reaches down to try to pet or pick up that now seemingly friendly “cute kitty” that just approached them? The wild animal lashes out and bites or scratches the hand that has no food for them. Resulting in $5,000-$8,000 rabies shots for each victim of a cat-feeder’s criminally negligent behavior, paid for out of the victim’s OWN pockets. Two reports even document rabid cats entering a pet-door and one even came through the family’s ceiling in search of human supplied foods, the attack so bad that the whole family required hospitalization.

    This is why even the CDC has issued direct warnings against the use of these failed TNR programs anywhere and everywhere: onlinelibrary.wiley D0T com SLASH doi/10.1111/zph.12070/abstract

  • TNR Researcher

    Aside from the safety issue to the the billions of defenseless native animals that are gutted-alive and skinned-alive under the claws and fangs of your invasive species cats, left to screech and writhe and twitch to death, wasted for your cats play-toys; and all the rare marine mammals (seals, dolphins, and now even whales) around the world which are dying-off from your cat’s T. gondii parasites (worse than any oil-spill that could even be imagined); and the indigenous Inuit people who are now being confronted with genocide-by-cat from birth-defects from all the T. gondii in the dying seals they eat for their very survival; also be sure you test those cats for ALL of the following diseases, or I hope the recipient of one of them that is adopted-out or someone coming in contact with their disease-infested cats sues your city and politicians and every last TNR practitioner so bad that they never recover from it for the rest of their criminally negligent and criminally irresponsible sorry-excuses for lives. (For just one example of THOUSANDS, not long ago businesses in Miami were ruined by caretakers of feral-cats spreading hookworm in all the beaches. Lawsuits aplenty!)

    These are just the diseases these invasive species vermin cats have been spreading to humans, not counting the ones they spread to all wildlife. THERE ARE NO VACCINES against many of these, and are in-fact listed as bio-terrorism agents. They include: Afipia felis, Anthrax, Bartonella (Rochalimaea) henselae, Bergeyella (Weeksella) zoohelcum, Campylobacter Infection, Cat Scratch Disease, Chlamydia psittaci (feline strain), Cowpox, Coxiella burnetti Infection (Q fever), Cryptosporidium Infection, Cutaneous larva migrans, Dermatophytosis, Dipylidium Infection (tapeworm), Hookworm Infection, Leptospira Infection, Giardia, Neisseria canis, Pasteurella multocida, Plague, Poxvirus, Rabies, Rickettsia felis, Ringworm, Salmonella Infection, Scabies, Sporothrix schenckii, Toxocara Infection, Toxoplasmosis, Trichinosis, Visceral larva migrans, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. [Centers for Disease Control, July 2010] Bird-flu, Bovine Tuberculosis, Sarcosporidiosis, Flea-borne Typhus, Tularemia, and Rat-Bite Fever can now also be added to that list.

    Yes, “The Black Death” (the plague) is alive and well today and being spread by people’s cats this time around. Many people have already died from cat-transmitted plague in the USA; all three forms of it transmitted by CATS — septicemic, bubonic, and pneumonic. For a fun read, one of hundreds of cases, Google for: Cat-Transmitted Fatal Pneumonic Plague

  • Michelle Davis

    QUIT with the hysteria…you are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own FACTS.

  • sayjo

    your right, cats do belong inside. . Some feral cats don’t have the personality to handle being indoors,They will become stressed and with that will come stress related illnesses and possible injury. They may even become a threat because they feel trapped. I’ve seen cats try to break through glass trying to escape and at least one attacked people repeatedly.