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http://www.panhandleparade.com/index.php/mbb/article/feral_cats_could_create_health_concern/mbb7728165/

Although this article doesn't actually say any rabid feral cats have been found, it is interesting that the reporter locked onto the feral cat issue in conjunction with reports of rabies.

Because people are more inclined to approach feral cats than they would be to approach an equally friendly raccoon or skunk, the risk may be greater.

Thanks to my friend Missy who works at the Cornell Veterinary Diagnostic Lab for sharing this!

A most thorough overview treatment of the issue Allie.

A recent controversy involved University of Nebraska recommending both shooting and leghold trapping as a means of reducing feral cat populations. This drew immediate response from the United States Humane Society as a totally inappropriate approach. I was shocked as i know UoN has been a leader in wildlife management approaches and I purchased their excellent manual some years ago., I believe it is available online.

I am not an expert in this area, but i have had some experience with feral cats - my first encounter with them was as a little boy when my family lived in a flat above a grocery store in Kensington Market in Toronto. I remember approaching a kitten to pet it, and discovering that this was not the usual kitten one would expect as it immediately went into a defensive stance with hair standing on end, hissing and snarling at me. I realized even then as a little boy that this was not an ordinary cat. Some of the adults were more approachable even if wary.

There are a lot of feral cats in Jerusalem and some of them very badly treated, although people do leave food for them near garbage dumpsters out of kindness.

Some humane societies just do not subscribe to killing healthy animals (the term "euthanize" is a misnomer in most cases). Euthanasia actually is the intentional killing of an animal or a human to relieve intractable suffering. Killing feral cats is NOT euthanasia. It is just killing. There is no mercy involved in killing an animal that has managed to survive in the urban environment through its wiles and hunting skills.

I am no expert on cats and songbirds, but I believe that more songbirds have been driven out of urban areas by habitat loss than by feral cats. Humans are responsible for far more deaths of birds in the city than feral cats. Birds have predators - and there is a natural balance between prey and predator that is as ancient as life itself. Accusing feral cats of impacting songbirds is sort of like blaming seals for the destruction of the cod fishery. Seals and cod existed for hundreds of thousands, or millions of years, and when Cabot first came to Newfoundland and his seamen could literally catch cod with pails, the seals were there. No fish, no seals...

I personally find this practice of clipping or notching cat ears to be barbaric. Cats that are neutered or spayed should be microchipped and identified by markings. Perhaps the notching or clipping is a small price to pay for a cat to be left alone, but i find this to be a truly primitive and obnoxious act of injury.

The real answer to the feral cat population lies in the accepted practice of live trapping and neutering/spaying that you mention, but also mandatory microchipping of all pets. I have two cats and they are both microchipped. This enables them to be returned to owners if they are lost, but it also identifies owners and accountability. The problem is when people get "cute" pets and then abandon them when they are inconvenient. i am not big on paying licencing annually as a tax, but i agree with paying to have a pet microchipped.

We need to take responsibility for our pets. I can never forget going through a research facility at a medical college and seeing dogs and cats who were obviously someone's pet in cages, and seeing and hearing those victims' plaintive voices calling for attention. Some of them abandoned..Some of them kidnapped for profit. All of them fated for destruction. It is quite another thing to have animals born and raised for this purpose sad as it is. That is an entire other issue.

I believe that feral populations need to be tolerated in habitats where they can survive, and managed and treated against diseases. I once dealt with a school that had a small population of cats living under portables.. i had recommended trapping and removal to the humane society (which did not kill healthy animals), but the school caretakers chose to take responsibility for these cats..They were trapped, neutered/spayed, vaccinated and released. The caretakers fed them. A mix of strays, but their contact with the caretakers socialized the young. A happy outcome.

Cat populations needed to be managed. I just don't like killing of healthy animals.

Just my thoughts Allie.

Sam

From: http://joomla.wildlife.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=117&Itemid=299

“According to TNR promoters, feral cat colonies also provide natural rodent control. However, one peer-reviewed study
found that the house mouse (Mus musculus) was more common in parks with managed cat colonies, leading the authors to
conclude that cats upset the balance of rodent populations and could lead to the expansion of house mice into previously
unoccupied ranges."

A new resource on feral cats: http://www.ipminstitute.org/school_ipm_2015/Feral_cats_pest_press.pdf

Feral cats who are part of a TNR program pose minimal risk to humans of transmitting disease.

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