As a cat lover, it is despondent and depressing to know that there are over 60 million feral, unwanted cats just in America. In Australia, there are over 12 million feral cats roaming around, starving and diseased. On top of those statistics, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that there are an additional 5 million domestic cats abandoned annually.
The U.S. has the highest human-to-cat ratio at 20.34%. Turkey has the least amount of cat owners worldwide. The best animal welfare laws belong to the UK and Sweden. No surprise, China is dead last on this statistic.
Just imagine, in seven years one cat and her young can produce 420,000 kittens. For a dog in the same amount time, she can "only" produce 67,000 puppies. Now consider that cats in general receive half of the veterinary care that dogs do. What a heartbreaking shame, especially since cats are the most popular pet in the world!
The ways that law enforcement and many communities deal with the overpopulation of feral cats is to trap them and murder them through euthanasia. The outdated methods that they employ are barbaric and cruel as they subject the animals to undue pain and torture. The citizens in the community only have more cats cropping up as more of them become sexually mature. The latest craze of trapping cats, spaying/neutering them and releasing them back into the wild does not answer the obvious need of shelter and food.
Worse, conservatives in the field fear that feral cats are wiping out songbirds and other endangered species of birds. They estimate that 100 million birds are lost to feral cat populations every year. As said before, one single cat can produce at least three litters of 8-10 kittens per year. This only worsens the situation, making feral cats endangered by every human who expels drastic and cruel eradication methods to wipe them out.
In order for a cat to survive, especially under harsh weather conditions and a difficult street life, one must eat 5%-8% of its body mass per day - for a male. A female raising kittens requires 20% of her body mass, in food, to survive. At least 50% of feral kittens die within six months of birth. The diseases they die of, like respiratory infections, are usually curable.
If you find a litter of abandoned, feral kittens, please go to this helpful link to find out how to save their lives.
This is why this writer is excited to announce that there are some relatively new businesses out there that are saving thousands of feral cats. One such business,Barncats Inc. has a heart for feral, unwanted cats, cats that may have one time been loved by owners, but were thrown away like trash.
Barncats opened their doors and arms in September 2003. Only adult cats are accepted and all cats are spayed or neutered. Best of all, the feral cats live a long, prosperous life working to rid landowners of unwanted pests like rodents. They are headquartered in North Texas but have offices all over Texas. The organization places an average of seven to ten cats each week in landowners' barns, stables and ranches. None of the cats have diseases and all come with a clean bill of health guaranteed.
There are no charges for the cats. All the owner must do is agree to provide a shelter (doesn't have to be or is encouraged to be their home!), and, of course, food. The food is often the plethora of rodents infesting the poor owner's property. The property doesn't have to have a specific guideline or meet a certain requirement. The feral cats need only to be given the basic necessities.
Many of these cats are picked up by local shelters, destined to be euthanized after cruel traps and rogue elimination methods were deployed. Two weeks of acclimating to their new surroundings is necessary, as cats are territorial by nature. The cats may consider one barn as their "home" while eating up all of the rodents in another building. Cats need to claim their scent to their new home and will often trap food elsewhere and bring home to eat their prey in the "home building."
My favorite part of this story is that there are no environmentally unfriendly poisons, chemicals, cruel traps and such being deployed by owners in order to control the pest population. Pets and children aren't getting unnecessarily injured or killed by these barbaric measures. The feral cats get to live in contentment, warmth and with food. They no longer have to worry about having unwanted pregnancies and thus catching their own food but also the food for their young. There are no painful diseases that snub short their wonderful lives.
Just read and see the success stories that Barncats Inc. has!
Barncats Inc. is supported by donations and volunteers' time, both something the organization always needs more of. It's not a glamorous job, but it's better than the alternative - diseased, feral cats swarming your town.
It's important to understand a few things about feral cats before you choose to volunteer or help out the animal control cause:
- Feral cats don't attack humans - they are actually afraid of humans.
- Feral cats don't spread disease to humans unless contact is made - they actually eradicate pests that carry disease.
- Rabies aren't likely to be contracted by feral cats. According to the Centers for Disease Control, from 1981-1999 in the United States, there were only 37 cases of humans with rabies; 22 were from bats, 14 from dogs and 1 from a skunk. Further, feral cats in managed colonies are vaccinated against rabies.
- Feral cats are not responsible for birds becoming endangered.
Please contact Barncats Inc. or your local charity that assists in humane solutions for feral cats. Not only will the feral cat population thank you, but those who are gravely affected by pests will thank you too. Together we can all be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem!