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Lizzard, what you describe seems to be colonies - not ‘the population of cats in Oakland’ and there is a difference.
There is a cost – our natural resources, folks needing PEP due to rabies exposure, damaged property.
Actually, there are people who will trap for removal. The problem is that no-kill efforts have been systematically taking away the rights of landowners to do so. Ear-tipped cats are put right back. Shelters won’t accept cats. Sometimes people are threatened or harassed or their traps are stolen or damaged. People have a right to have unwanted domestic animals removed from their properties. But, that is increasingly harder and harder to do if they are cats.
Two papers in the Journal Zoonoses and Public Health:
Ellen, I did not say I represent the scientific community, but I base my views on science and substantiate what I say based on science. If ‘both sides’ can quote the studies, then by all means, please do so. Cite even one peer-reviewed paper in which TNR has reduced population growth within a municipality, county, or state. The point is – we shouldn’t be engaging and funding feel-good programs that actually come at the expense of public health. As much as environmental impact concerns me, this is first and foremost a public health issue. And, if you bother to read Roebling et al. 2013, the paper that has 5 authors from the CDC, you will learn that TNVR does not mitigate for rabies, but increases the risks. If you read Gerhold and Jessup, 2012 (both papers published in the Journal Zoonoses and Public Health), you will gain an understanding regarding the zoonotic disease ramifications of allowing cats to roam.
Nowhere did I say to hell regarding any other approach. TNR – definitely. But, not socialization, not containment or catios, and not TENVAC – which is a sanctuary set-up that has oversight and accountability (trap-evaluate-neuter-vaccinate-adopt-contain), so perhaps don’t put words in my mouth.
You are the pot calling the kettle black. My view is not myopic because I (unlike you) consider all aspects of this issue – not just the cats.
I didn’t say that the cats or the food is the reason at the colleges, but what I did describe happens in many, many places. Seriously, if you practice TNR, you darn well know that food attracts unwanted animals.
I don’t blame cats – I blame humans. Cats do what they do out of instinct.
I never said get rid of them all – my goodness – just how many times in one rant can you put words in my mouth? Spay-neuter all the owned pets you can, sure. But if you fix a feral, don’t re-dump outside. TNR is pretty much outdoor hoarding of cats. Areas are saturated.
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Eden, you don't represent the scientific community, and both "sides" can quote scientific studies, "fact". What is the point. We've all read the tired old lines from organizations who are hell bent on rounding up cats and killing them, and "the hell with any other approach".
You're presenting a myopic view of the situation, and are misinformed regarding what is happening here, and at the colleges. The issue of the colleges wanting to get rid of wildlife has nothing to do with cats. Cat food/feeding is not present at the locations I am reerring to. They are there, and "here" due to the weather and drought. Constructive, collaborative, humane-oriented organizations, such as Wildcare, help in these situation.
You are blaming cats for an awful lot of things, and mis categorizing hard working volunteers dedicated to improveing life for all creatures, in our own neighborhoods. What we're doing, helps the cats, wildlife, and the community.
Call it whatever you want, because clearly, you are opposed to all efforts, that involve humane treatment of cats. So, it doesn't matter, as you aren't helping. You seem on that bandwagon of "I am quoting science, cats are destroying the ecosystem, get rid of them all."
Everyone, continue to support spay/neuter! That should be something everyone agrees about. Eden may not, but thank you to the majority of people out there who are embracing the great work being done, to help these cats.
Thanks for your thoughts. I don’t think you’re right, but like me, you have every right to believe as you wish. I’ll continue as I have for the past 10 years – making a difference in our community – doing what I’ve found to work, and that’s TNR.
Please don’t assume that because I practice TNR that I do not care for the ‘wild critters’. I’m reducing the feral cat population to make a humane impact (for the community, the critters, the birds, and the cats) even if you choose not to believe that it does. If you’re basing *my* success on whether I am making a dent in the population of feral cats in the US, then yes, I must concede that you are right. But, for the neighborhoods I’ve worked, where the community is engaged, the POPULATION is reduced.
It’s about education in the community and providing tools to residents to care for their own neighborhoods – and in some cases, that’s caring for animals. If people are engaged in the process and what’s happening in their own neighborhood, TNR works. Happy you found my statement humorous when I said you are a hindrance. I stand by that statement.
Your comment: “there is still no statistically significant dent in the population after 25 years of this misguided practice” does not take into account the individual neighborhoods where it has worked. I can’t, of course, tackle the whole US, but I can start small and work outward. That’s where the impact occurs, and that’s what makes a difference. If you want to only focus on the ‘big’ picture and simply disregard TNR because you feel there’s no dent in the feral cat population throughout the US, then it seems in your opinion that no one will ever make a difference.
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Ellen, interesting that you mentioned encouraging colleges not to trap and kill unwanted wildlife. What unfortunately happens is that cats and cat food attract native wild predators that are then trapped and destroyed. Bobcats, coyotes, and raccoons and other animals become habituated to humans, pose a risk, and then are removed and killed.
Science is not propaganda. Releasing cats that will continue to destroy native wildlife is not a way to support birds. Practicing something like TENVAC is.
Oh, I think this is very constructive because both sides of this issue are presented rather than just a feel-good story.
I do agree that humans are responsible for the decline in birds – they allow cats to roam, they dump unwanted cats, and they re-abandon them through TNR - all human actions that result in wildlife mortality. The fact is, cats are now the leading human-related cause of wildlife mortality – to the tune of billions of birds and mammals every year. Loss et al. 2013. That figure does not even include killed herpetofauna or mortality due to diseases spread from cats to wildlife like toxoplasmosis.
Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) is advertised as a tool to reduce feral cat numbers. Unfortunately, TNR programs have been overwhelmingly shown to fail to reduce feral cat populations while simultaneously maintaining feral cats on the landscape, where they contribute to wildlife and public health risks.
Maggie, I promote responsible pet ownership. TNR undermines that. Tired of killing? How about those of us who are tired of one cat being valued more than the dozens or hundreds or more wild critters that the cat will destroy during the course of its lifetime outdoors? TNR only extends compassion to one species at the expense of all others that actually belong in the wild.
You are incorrect. TNR has never worked as a population reduction tool. Without doing a census of a limited geographical area before TNR and then perhaps 3 to 5 years after TNR, you have no clue as to the effect the method has had on the population of that area. Colony reductions, if they happen, are not population reductions.
What is unfortunate is that TNR is marketed as the best thing since apple pie when there is so much collateral damage to the environment, to public health, to landowner rights, and to the cats themselves.
That is humorous – an attempt to blame folks who think like me as a hindrance to TNR. Millions of dollars are expended annually to re-abandon cats through TNR, and there is still no statistically significant dent in the population after 25 years of this misguided practice.
I will not be ‘joining forces’ to engage in a practice that is essentially a form of animal cruelty to domestic animals and destroys wildlife. Tame the ones you can, contain and promote catios, euthanize the rest.
I am thankful that there are fewer and fewer people promoting the ideas that you espouse. Most people will tell you that they are tired of ‘killing’ as the answer to problems we are facing. It’s a quick fix that doesn’t last, and further erodes human compassion. When residents show compassion, learn how to address the situation, are given the tools and instruction they need to succeed, indeed, TNR DOES work. Perhaps Feral Change will start posting local resident quotes about how their neighborhoods have positively benefited from TNR, and how the populations have stabilized. Yes, communities need to be diligent about fixing any newcomers that show up (often these are simply unfixed pet cats that have been dumped or left behind when people move), but when people are engaged in what’s happening in their neighborhood, and care about their community, all they need are the tools and a little diligence to keep the population at zero growth. It’s unfortunate that comments such as yours dissuade individuals from becoming involved. If everyone who thought as you do simply stopped being a hindrance, the effort would succeed at a faster pace. And, if you and others were willing to join forces in a humane manner, the results you desire would occur quite quickly. It’s true that TNR doesn’t allow for a phone call and the problem just ‘disappears’ – you have to work at it and be engaged with what’s happening in your area. But with a little investment of time and, yes, money, we can humanely address our feral cat population.
I have been working in the community, TNRing, managing colonies, and helping get kittens and tame cats off the streets, for a very long time. What you're saying is simply not my experience, or that of others I know, working on behalf of all animals, including wildlife.
Every person I know, who works to spay and neuter cats, also cares about wildlife. Some of us are attempting to stop local colleges from trapping and killing unwanted wildlife, and we support bird populations. If you want to have a dialogue, with people managing colonies, people will surely be willing to engage, civilly, without the propoganda emanating from a few groups, who are determined to promote the rounding up and killing of all outdoor cats.
The opinions you are expressing, here, are not constructive. Particularly, when this volunteer group, of local Oakland residents, is being honored, and acknowledged by East Bay Express. This group of grass roots volunteers, is working hard to remove kittens from the street, for socialization and adoption, to get tame adults off the streets, and either reunited, or re-homed, through adoption. The unsocialized cats, who were abandoned, or born outside, and older, are TNR'd, treated medically, fed and cared for by responsible people, who don't believe it is right or justified to kill them. And, "Trap and remove" is just that: "Trap and kill".
Cats are hunters. They excel at hunting rodents. Cats are not responsible for the decline in the bird population. Humans are.
The targeted trapping, for TNR of neighborhoods in Oakland, has made a tremendous difference. It is neighborhood-building, community-building and brings out the best in people- compassion for all living creatures.
Public agencies, shelters, businesses and individuals, are increasingly aware that TNR is the answer to the problem of irresponsible humans who allowed cats to breed outside. That is why these efforts, of groups such as Feral Change, are being acknowledged. This is a very positive thing, and one most of us are honoring. Compassion, and grass roots volunteer efforts, working with residents of Oakland, is being acknowledged here.
Sam, that is the focus of TNR, right? Not having to euthanize cats. That is the true goal, as the method does not stabilize the population or reduce population growth.
Renee, from peer-reviewed research. Those two things you describe happen in TNR as well. The so-called vacuum effect is a fallacy. Ongoing management is required no matter what method is employed. But, the food provided in TNR simply attracts more cats and rabies vector mammals. Cats not caught continue to breed.
Ellen, trap and remove will provide needed respite to migratory birds and to local folks nearby. There is no break in TNR - the cats are always there. Colonies do not tend to cease to exist.
There is nothing humane about re-dumping domestic cats. Certainly not humane for the wildlife that is maimed, tortured, and destroyed. Where is your compassion for our natural resources?
Trap Neuter Release is the only humane and effective answer to homeless cats. Trap and remove is barbaric, backwards, and ineffective.
TNR has been proven effective, and is now increasingly supported by agences all over this state, and country. The bay area is leading the way! Local shelters as well as public health agencies work with groups to promote spay/neuter and care of feral cats.
Feral cats are not wild animals, they are domestic cats. Have some compassion! Get them spayed, neutered, and care for them. They keep the rodent population down, as well.
Lets move towards zero population growth, and care of the cats. Spay and neuter! Remove kittens and socialize. Go Feral Change!
LOL where are you people getting your facts? Catching and killing feral cats is animal control’s traditional approach for feral cats. Catch and kill attempts may temporarily reduce the number of feral cats in a given area, but two things happen: intact survivors continue to breed, and other cats move in to the now-available territory. This is a phenomenon known as the vacuum effect, and it is documented worldwide.
Trap and release is humane to wildlife and to the feral cats. Most importantly it keeps Oakland from having to kill feral cats and stabilizes the cat population in our communities. Thank you Sarah, and your volunteers for showing everyone the humane way to manage our feral cat issues. There are dozens of volunteers, vets, foster homes, and Oakland merchants behind these efforts. We should be proud that Oakland is leading the way in demonstrating that feral cats have been part of healthy human communities since the time of the Pharoahs. Let's hope other cities and communities adopt similar organizations and methods. And yes, I have a formerly feral cat that was TNR'd and socialized by Sarah and the great folks at Feral Change.
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