so I am a shiny registered Feral Caregiver with the Windsor Essex County Humane Society (WECHS) for the Feral Caregiver Program!!!
This is so exciting!
As some of you know already (if you’ve read my bucket list) it is my dream to one day run a cat sanctuary. That may or may not happen but this is definitely a step in the right direction.
I wish to devote my life to help educate humans on ethical treatment of animals in general and cats in particular, and to improve the quality of life of community cats in my area -wherever that area may be.
TL;DR: community cats include both Feral & Stray cats. A cat is considered feral is she was born outside and has never lived indoors or had much contact with humans. A cat is considered stray if she was at some point a house cat but now lives outdoors for whatever reason (i.e: being dumped or left behind by a heartless human).
One of the first things I learned when I moved to Windsor is the city’s big cat overpopulation problem.
In a way, it has made finding my darling Satchie even more difficult as there are hundreds of feral and stray brown tabbies roaming the city.
There is a big colony of brown tabbies right in the field adjacent to the motel Satchie broke free from, for example.
The causes of cat overpopulation are several – of course, I don’t claim the problem is a simple one – but one of them is believe it or not, compassionate people who feed community cats on a regular basis but don’t think of neutering/spaying them.
When cats are well fed, they have a better change of having strong litters that will grow to have more litters.
As WECHS puts it:
If you’re already feeding free-roaming cats, you’ve shown that you care for them. But the best way to make their lives easier is through TNR, or Trap-Neuter-Return, sometimes also called TNVR (Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return). By feeding but not fixing them, you can actually be making the cats’ lives harder because you are allowing them to have larger litters with more of the kittens surviving to adulthood.
Beside the obvious effect on cat population, non-altered cats are also more likely get into fights. Especially the males, in defending their territory or earning the right to mate. Those fights can lead to terrible wounds that can get infected and potentially claim their lives or considerably maim them which will affect their ability to feed. The latter will lead to a slow and painful dead by starvation and/or make them easy prey of coyotes and other predators.
Some people may not be aware of the benefits of neutering/spaying ALL cats whether they are indoor or outdoor, or may not know how to make this happen.
Thankfully, more and more people around the world are working on bringing awareness to the benefits of TNR programs and are working hard to ensure the general public know about it and to get their cities involved.
Killing (euthanizing) community cats may have been seen as an acceptable solution to cat overpopulation but in reality, TNR is a lot more humane and a much better solution in the long run.
Sure, euthanizing unwanted cats shows immediate results but it doesn’t come cheap either as it involves a lot of resources, from hiring -and paying- qualified personnel to maintaining up to standard facilities (crematoriums etc) and stocking the necessary drugs for the procedure. That is a lot of money. Plus in the end, it doesn’t matter how humanely the whole process is, you are still KILLING the cats.
Cats have a role in the ecosystem, preventing over-growth of the rodent and other populations.
Get rid of all the free-roaming cats in your community and soon you won’t know what to do with all the rats and mice invading all the fields, parks and backyards.
Again, I know the problem is multi-layered and so is the solution.
Much education is needed.
But it is my opinion that TNR programs are the way to go and that all cities should phase out euthanizing in favor of TNR-ing.
In the mean time, I intend to do my share in being part of the solution!
As of yesterday, I am a shiny registered Feral Caregiver with the Windsor Essex County Humane Society (WECHS) for the Feral Caregiver Program!!!