All the kittens have homes and my days in the rescue games are over, for the time being. I simply don’t have the time or the money to continue. I will help out by contributing when I can by donating to local foster groups and to spay and neuter programs.
The rescue of the kittens is bittersweet since two more litters have born since then. Still, I cannot thank the folks that helped find homes or took in a kitten themselves enough for what they have done. We couldn’t save them all, but now six kittens will have a chance to grow up.
While the colony is growing, two more cats have been run over since my last post. And as I have said before, they didn’t have to die. This is not a problem caused by cats. Sadly, one of the cats who perished was an un-neutered male who father many of the streets’ kittens. He was a house-cat whose caretaker thought that it was cute that he was out making babies. Cute, but destructive.
The cat colony in my neighborhood loves to use the sandy soil in some folk’s yards as their litter box, which prevents anything from growing in those spots. Worse, those places are right along the sidewalk and dogs love to eat the kitty droppings which can transmit diseases. In addition, the colony in my neighborhood is not healthy. The kittens in my care were found to have coccidia and roundworms both of which are highly transmittable to both humans and cats. The cats also hide underneath cars, crawl in engines and have taken to peeing on one man’s convertible top. They have taken over the driveway of one duplex to the point where the residents pulling in have to stop and get out of their cars to move them out of the way. The neighbors who once were determined to help the colony now are calling animal control desperate for them to take care of the problem. The city has yet to respond. In a busy working neighborhood like mine it could be months or years until the problem is taken care of, if it is solved at all.
My two kitty boys are spending more and more time indoors, much to their dismay. Jack still accompanies Luke and me on walks, but is carried inside afterwards. They don’t like it, but it is best for them and for the neighborhood. Contact with the strays can lead to them becoming ill and the birds of the neighborhood don’t need my boys shortening their life expectancy. Come to think of it, there aren’t many birds or squirrels around.
Sadly, the cat colony on my street is a part of a growing problem worldwide. Stray and Feral cats are now considered to be an invasive species. Yes, you heard me. They are considered to be an invasive species, which has been linked by some to 33 different bird species going extinct. Many feel that the problem is not a domestic animal issue but a wildlife management issue. They may have a point. In Australia, they are experimenting by allowing the native dingo population to increase in order to combat their feral cat issue. Residents here in the U.S. would not take kindly to the wildlife officials allowing coyotes to increase their numbers to decrease feral cat numbers. Sterilization or euthanizing the cats are two other solutions. Many people, including myself, do not want to see the cats killed, but after seeing so many die on my small street I cannot help but consider that a peaceful death preferable to that horrifying ending.
My pets or furry companions contribute so much to my life and while taking care of them can at times be a sacrifice it is well worth it. SpayNSave is a non-profit group located in Central Florida whose mission is to reduce pet overpopulation by offering high-volume, low-cost spay & neuter surgeries. They also educate the community about responsible pet ownership. No animal is disposable. Trap and Release programs are wonderful when funded and when they can successfully catch, fix and release at least 71% of a colony. And while some feral cats can be successfully integrated into homes, not all can make the transition. Even worse many cats that make their way to shelters die before finding homes because the shelters cannot afford to keep them. No-kill shelters are wonderful but they cannot keep up with the demand. They need our help.
If you can, please consider donating to your local rescue group or shelter. Every penny can help. And in the immortal words of Bob Barker, please spay or neuter your pets.