There have been many complaints about the cat population in Scioto County. They are on porches, in garages, in abandoned buildings, and in alleyways. Many people bring them into their homes and make them part of the family. Sometimes, a cat is an older person’s only companion; sometimes, it is a child’s confidant and best friend. Other people consider a cat to be a nuisance, a pest, and an expense.
Cats are predators of snakes, mice and rats. Their sharp claws are used for catching prey as well as protection. They have been known as bad luck and useful to witches in literature. Even a best-selling musical has their name as its title.
There are complaints that the local government or the local shelter or animal rescue isn’t doing enough to hold down the feline population. Drastic measures to curtail the numbers of cats are being offered and decisions are being made, some to the delight of a few community members while some to the horror of many other people. Yes, something needs to be done.
Cats are prolific when it comes to reproducing offspring. Consider the facts from the American Humane Association: If two cats breed at will and then their offspring breed at will, these two cats will have 80 MILLION cats within a decade! (This assumes two litters per year and 2.8 surviving kittens per litter.) Here are the numbers by year: Year one – 12 cats; year two – 66; year three – 382; year four – 2,201; year five – 12,680; year six – 73,041; year seven – 420,715; year eight – 2,423,316; year nine – 13,968,290; year ten – 80,399,780. Shall we go on?
There is a simple fix. A neutered cat will not have any offspring! One neutered cat in one year equals 1 cat; in ten years, it still equals 1 cat.
Every cat owner or caretaker must take responsibility to hold down the cat population through spaying the females or castrating the males. The simplest way to control the population is to castrate the males so that no matter where he travels throughout the community, he will not reproduce.
Sierra’s Haven for New and Used Pets has been in the cat and dog saving business since 2005. During that time period, Dr. Gail Counts, executive director of Sierra’s Haven, has been responsible for the neutering of over 12,200 cats and 7,900 dogs. She averages one male cat “neuter day” a month for several months each year. The cost is $20 per cat, regardless of family income. It’s simple; it’s cheap. She alters the male cat and sends it home the same day. Some days she castrates an average of 80-90 male cats; she has neutered as many as 123 male cats in one day.
According to Dr. Counts, numerous research studies prove that euthanizing a feral cat population does NOT eliminate the problem because another cat population will move into that area and start another colony. A good TNR (trapping, neutering, and releasing back into the same environment) will cause the cat population to become static.
There are humane solutions, other than euthanasia, available for controlling the cat population. It may take numerous veterinarians, dedicated assistants, and committed cat owners and animal lovers to help. A good TNR program requires live traps with food and water, volunteers to maintain the traps and bring male cats to a designated surgery center, and volunteers to release the cats back into their environment. We need government leaders to put their heads together and find a way, work with animal professionals who know what to do. Oh, and do it quickly. The unaltered cats are reproducing as we speak.
Sierra’s Haven-80 Easter Dr, Portsmouth, OH 45662 (740) 353-5100 http://www.sierrashaven.org/
June 20, 2019
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