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Cat control? Try neuter-confine-euthanize


Date published: 3/29/2013

This is to follow up on Joan Enoch's March 29 letter ["Trap-neuter-return helps cats and people"].

Domestic cats first arrived in North America with Europeans a few hundred years ago. Because we are the cause of introducing the domestic cat to North America, we have a responsibility to the cats and the wildlife they may affect.

Although cats make affectionate pets, many cats are effective predators. It is hard for some to accept, but the domestic cat has a devastating impact on native wildlife. Nationwide, cats probably kill over a billion small mammals and hundreds of millions of birds each year.

Sure, cats kill house mice, rats, and other species considered pests, but cats also kill many native songbirds and mammals, whose populations are already stressed by other factors.

They oftentimes outnumber and compete with native predators. This is especially true in urban settings, where they exist in higher densities.

What else can we do besides trap-neuter-return? For cat owners, keep only as many cats as you can feed and care for. Please, for the sake of your cat(s) and local wildlife, keep your cat indoors. It is undisputed that confinement will eliminate unwanted reproduction and predation on wild animals.

Now for the lightning rod: The National Wildlife Federation found that feeding stray cats maintains high densities of cats that kill and compete with native wildlife populations.

Maintenance of colonies of free-ranging or feral cats through supplemental feeding benefits no one. The cats suffer because of disease and physical injury; native wildlife suffers.

Controlling reproduction and humanely euthanizing unwanted cats will keep cat populations from growing beyond the size that can be adequately cared for.

Andrew T. Petersen

Spotsylvania