Letters to the Editor

North State Community Cats Need Your Help

Each day, thousands of community cats struggle for survival in the North State. They face starvation, abuse, illness, predators and harsh weather. Your immediate help is urgently needed to fix this problem.

Community cats include lost and abandoned domestic cats, along with feral (wild) cats. They can be found all around us. They are in our parks, culverts, in both cities and more rural areas, along busy highways, in our neighborhoods and around business establishments in search of food.

If left unaltered, a female community cat can give birth to three litters per year, with an average of four kittens per litter, in an average lifetime of approximately fifteen years. This could result in up to 180 kittens in her lifetime. Assuming her litters remain intact and breed themselves, hundreds of thousands of kittens could result. Even though all won't likely survive, even a fraction of this number is far too many to ignore.

Currently, most counties and cities have no effective program to deal with the ever-growing number of community cat colonies. They offer little, to no, assistance to residents in need of help. Calls to local animal shelters for assistance are generally met with a denial of services. Unfortunately, ferals taken into possession by shelters are killed after three days in accordance with state law. This is inhumane and unacceptable.

And no help appears to be forthcoming from local veterinarians. Most charge exorbitant prices to sterilize cats and offer no help in dealing with the community cat colony problem.

An alternative exists to the killing of community cats.

Using the well-established Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) strategy, cats are trapped, sterilized and returned to their colonies, moved to safer locations or adopted out. This is the right, most humane approach for effectively dealing with the colonies and one that has been adopted by many large and small cities across the nation. It's time for all counties and cities in the North State to implement the TNR approach as well.

Our growing community cat colony problem requires immediate attention. These starving, neglected, and abused pets in our communities send a loud and very visible message to visitors, businesses and residents alike. It says we don't take care of our pets nor our neighborhoods and our county and city governments do not serve their citizens well. The general public, elected officials, veterinarians and businesses all have a role to play.

Please support an amendment to your county and city animal control ordinances that implements an effective TNR program. Other cities and counties that have already implemented such changes include Baltimore, Cheyenne, Montgomery County, TX, City of Richland, MO, District of Columbia, Lafayette City-Parish, LA and Salt Lake County, UT. Currently, our local animal control ordinances are completely silent in dealing with community cat colonies.

Your help is needed. Please contact your elected county and city leaders and tell them you want them to adopt the TNR amendment to their animal control ordinances. Only by working together, including government, citizens and businesses, can we humanely and effectively control the growth of community cat colonies in Northern California. Thank you.

Pete Stiglich
Cottonwood, CA
(530) 347-6431

Submitted: 08/06/18
Article By: Sierra Booster