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Q & A: Keeping Feral Cats Healthy

A veterinarian who works with feral colonies discusses the medical issues they present

A veterinarian who works with feral colonies discusses the medical issues they present

A row of feral kittens will be less prone to health issues after they’re sterilized and vaccinated.
BILL COULTER
Twenty years ago, the typical municipal response to public complaints about stray cats fell into one of two categories: The cats were trapped and killed (sometimes humanely, sometimes not), or the calls were simply ignored. Even today, while many municipal animal care and control departments want to provide better outcomes for feral cats, few have the staff or the financial resources to invest in long-term, humane solutions to the issue.

But research has increasingly indicated that trap-and-euthanize programs fail: Because of cat population dynamics, when some cats are removed, those remaining have larger litters, more of whom survive. Animal care and control agencies can’t capture enough cats to make a dent in the community’s complaints about them, and those cat lovers who’ve long sympathized with their local strays and fed them from back porches and front stoops are rightly indignant when their local governments cannot come up with a better solution than mass euthanasia.

 Read the full article.

 

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