LETTER: How to compassionately control cats in Walton County

Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 03:55 PM.

As a concerned citizen and resident of Walton County, I would like to respond to a recent article in the “Opinion” section of the Walton Sun.  In doing so, I would like to offer some educational information regarding feral cats.

We all know that they are not the cats that come running when you call “here Kitty, Kitty.”

They are the ones darting through the nighttime shadows, keeping their distance from humans. Most of the time people don’t even know they are there. But the vacant lots and back yards of our neighborhoods are full of them.

They are unsocialzed cats — cats that were born outside and never lived with a human family — never knew the touch of a human or the love and compassion of a human. Some are cats that have strayed from their home or been abandoned and over time reverted to a wild state in order to survive, usually living in groups called colonies.

They make homes wherever they can find food — in a dumpster, under a porch, in an abandoned house.

Female cats that are not spayed spend most of their lives pregnant and hungry, as will the female kittens that survive. Unneutered tomcats roam to find and fight to win mates and often suffer severe wounds in the process. Half of all kittens born in feral colonies die within their first year. Two cats with two litters (six kittens per litter) per year: first year 12 kittens; second year 66 kittens; third year 382 kittens and by the sixth year 73,041 kittens are born. These are startling statistics.

Feral cat control is important and can be accomplished through the nationally recognized program referred to as TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return). This is a solution, although not a quick solution, that reduces feral cat population of colonies. TNR is the full-scale sterilization (spaying or neutering), vaccination, micro chipping and management program that reduces feral cat numbers, both immediately and for the long-term.



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