There are Better Solutions for Outdoor Cats Besides the Current "Catch and Kill" Method

Outdoor cats have been part of our landscape for thousands of years, and always will be. Compassionate and effective solutions to help cats and communities coexist peacefully are readily available.

Feral cats, or a better name, community cats, exist in every community. They are the same species as domestic cats, but because they are not socialized to humans they can't be adopted into homes. They live a happy, content life outdoors in family groups called colonies. You may see them ducking behind supermarkets and restaurants, or sunning in your yard, and many of us dig into our wallets to feed them.

The most cost-effective, humane method to help feral cats is through a program called Trap-Neuter-Return. The cats are humane-trapped, surgically altered, vaccinated and returned to their outdoor home. This ends the breeding cycle and helps deter the unwanted behaviors of unfixed cats such as spraying and fighting. Outdoor cats and humans can co-exist peacefully like they have for thousands of years.

Contrary to what some people would like to believe, outdoor cats are not the reason for songbird decline in our country. Loss of habitat due to human encroachment, rampant development and related pollution  cause far more bird deaths than cats. An Ohio State University study concluded that urbanization is the chief cause of declining populations of migratory birds. A 2005 study by the U.S. Forest Service estimates that six times more birds are killed annually by flying into buildings and power lines than by cats.

You may be shocked to learn that being killed in an animal shelter is the number one documented cause of death for cats in the United States. Milwaukee is no exception. Approximately 50 - 60% of all the cats that enter Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission are killed. In 2011 6818 cats entered the "shelter". Of those, 4235 were killed - or 62%. You can see all of the statistics at this link.

The traditional method of "catch and kill" has not worked to reduce the feral cat population. It is cruel, expensive and our tax dollars are funding it. A study done by Alley Cat Allies shows that the majority of Americans do not support the "catch and kill" method of animal sheltering.

Cities across the country are realizing that rather than the endless catch and kill, our tax dollars and donations would be much better spent on Trap-Neuter-Return programs for outdoor cats and low-cost spay and neuter for all cats. Isn't it time for Milwaukee to join the ranks of humane, cost-effective animal control?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Randy1949 September 28, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Hmm, Craig. Sounds like your neighbor hasn't neutered his cat either (although sometimes neutered males will spray too.)
Craig September 28, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Randy: You would be correct. They see cats as a tool to keep vermin out of the garage. Cleaning up the trash in said garage would also work and would eliminate the need for a can of paint to hold the door open for the cat. Every couple years they get a new cat, and do not get shots for it, no distemper, no rabbies vaccine, nothing. Craig doesn't hate the cats, he hates the people who lack respect for their cats. The problem has grown, now several people have free roaming cats that are not spayed or neutered. This I know because there was a litter recently, and have seen kittens in the road at midnight.
James R Hoffa September 28, 2012 at 06:59 PM
@Craig - Hoffa agrees - you've been a stand up neighbor and your neighbor who owns the cat refuses to be a stand up neighbor in return. That's exactly why Hoffa prefers having no neighbors ;-) If you pursued a civil small claims case against the neighbor who owns the cat, once the bad neighbor realizes that it might start costing him some time and money, the neighbor might actually start showing some respect towards others in how he cares for the cat. Remember, in addition to the damage caused by the cat, you could also recover nominal damages for the trespass that the neighbor's cat commits against your private property. As all of the other options you've tried failed to produce the results you seek, your neighbor is really leaving you with no alternative. I guess it depends on how much of a problem the cat poses to you. Just remember that it is an option that you do have in case it starts to become overwhelming or unbearable.
Jay Warner September 28, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Cats may have been with us for thousands of years; in Egypt they adorn bas-relief carvings. But they are _not_ native to the New World. Also, the major damage cats do to the wildlife in a neighborhood is from 'outdoor' cats - those who hunt outdoors, then go home to warm comfort and another meal. I agree that trapping and hauling them off to a shelter and death, is not a fun thing to contemplate. We make the local environment; we 'manage' it, one way or another. How would you balance the excess of cats against all the other critters in the neighborhood?
$$andSense September 29, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Amen Craig, same credo here. If you love your cat, dog, whatever, keep it in your house or yard or reap the unfortunate consequences of those who do not share your passions. Why is personal responsibility such a bad thing? Not you Craig, but for those that equate pets with children, well, they are just disconnected.
$$andSense September 29, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Huffer (hair spray or starting ether?) A childless 34 year old preaching about child rearing. Really?? YOU are the piece of work. Need the manual? So you admit a feral cat is a wild animal, like possums, coons, skunks and other potentially disease carrying wildlife. Are you claiming to be St. Francis of Assisi? Ever see what 2 or 3 coon hounds do to cats or other critters when doing business in the "wilds" like where you claim to grow up? It isn’t pretty. You would scream like a panty waist girly man. Yes, I have a clue. When the cross hairs cover the desired location, carefully squeeze the trigger. My son is a good shot too. $$ loves your nonsense! Please send more because you are getting to be fun! Don't forget to check out my other postings for you as well! Auf Wiedersehen!
Muskego Mike September 29, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Maybe you needed a better teacher. Sounds like killing and not hunting.
$$andSense September 29, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Well Cindi multi name- the cat jumped a 6 foot privacy fence in broad daylight, landed in our yard to crap in our daughter's sand box as it had done repeatedly many times before, and as any 3 year old would do "wanted to pet the kitty" and got bit. It all happened in under 30 seconds with my wife sitting there in disbelief 'cause she isn't Wonder Woman like you to avert the issue in seconds. The local badges knew of this ongoing situation long before and shrugged it off. "Talk to the owners" they said. Right. Drunken retrobate renters with non-licensed pets. The whole reason I put the fence up. Now you and libtard childless Doofa can take up the cause of this s--t that keeps going many times over. I dealt with the problem. finis feline.
$$andSense September 29, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Read my REAL story above Katty. My name is not important. No bold comments, not a coward, just facts. Love your cats, dogs, whatever. I do not care. Keep them in your yard, house, etc. I do not trespass on your property and cause harm, keep you pets out of mine and respect the same.
James R Hoffa September 29, 2012 at 03:40 AM
$$andNonsense - Sounds like you prefer life to look like scenes from Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust (1980) - must be the German in you! Hoffa is more like Sean Patrick Flanery in the film Powder (1995) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Uz80zTMO40 You and your offspring could actually learn a lot from Powder - perhaps you should check it out!
$$andSense September 29, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Craig Just be discrete and one or more of the options you mention do work.
James R Hoffa September 29, 2012 at 04:00 AM
@$$andNonsense - OK Dr. Mengele, whatever you say!
James R Hoffa September 29, 2012 at 04:11 AM
@$$andNonsense - It's not that Hoffa's a "libtard," far from it in fact if you ever bothered to read any of Hoffa's comments. It's just that Hoffa realizes that animals are innocent, while man is capable of betrayal, malicious behavior, back-stabbing, lying, disrespect, etc... basically evilness. You admit that your problem lies with the cat's owner, and yet you killed the innocent cat. If you were any kind of a real man, you would have killed the negligent owners, as they're the ones who committed the harm against you and your offspring - not the poor cat! The fact that you don't realize and apparently can't see the reality of this earns you a very special award: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h0rSTRrQeQ Congratulations - douche bag of the year!
$$andSense September 29, 2012 at 04:31 AM
@$$ and Lots of Sense OK Dr. Mengele, whatever you say! Thank you, Dames no like Doofa.
$$andSense September 29, 2012 at 04:50 AM
“It's not that Hoffa's a "libtard," far from it in fact if you ever bothered to read any of Hoffa's comments” (did, snicker, snicker). Sorry, still a libtard (hee hee hee!) “Congratulations - douche bag of the year!” (hee hee hee) Where is your girlfriend on your “country estate”? Still your right or left Rosie? (hee hee hee). Can’t make kids with her if your daddy didn’t tell you already. (LMAO)! Time to go.
James R Hoffa September 29, 2012 at 04:55 AM
@$$andNonsense - That's right, it is time to go - back into your trailer, as your wife/sister is calling for you!
Craig September 29, 2012 at 06:08 AM
$$: I thought about it a few times, but it ain't worth doing time over. JRH: I try to be a good neighbor most of the time. In Winter I get my tractor out to do my driveway, and wind up doing 10! By the way...I know authorities were searching for you. Looks like maybe they found you under a cement slab???
Craig September 29, 2012 at 06:11 AM
Holy hell guys, it is almost like a cat fight in here. Keep it up and someone is going to get neutered.
Craig September 29, 2012 at 06:33 AM
Randy1949 September 29, 2012 at 06:54 PM
@JRH -- about too many horror films and nightmares about men in hockey masks, Randy confesses to a similar reaction after a Walking Dead Marathon and a re-reading of World War Z. We aren't exactly in the middle of nowhere, but we're isolated. When twilight would fall, I'd find myself getting rather jumpy, locking the doors and closing the blinds. LOL
James R Hoffa September 29, 2012 at 07:59 PM
@Randy1949 - It's really rather amazing that despite our ages, we still get 'scared' by stuff like that, isn't it?
Randy1949 September 29, 2012 at 11:50 PM
@JRH -- I think it's called having a vivid imagination.
Nuitari (Grand Master Editor) September 30, 2012 at 01:01 AM
The best cat is a dead cat.
Randy1949 September 30, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Really? Not if you need a mouse killed or your lap warmed. Along with dogs, cats have been the allies of Humankind for a long time.
Bren September 30, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Some years back a relative dressed my cat as Bastet for a Halloween pet costume competition. Other than the embarrassment of watching "Bastet" smack every other pet within reach upside the head, my main takeaway was the mother cat and kittens being offered for adoption by the host organization. The tops of the mother's ears were missing due to frostbite. Our Wisconsin winters are no place for homeless cats and dogs. I think it's more cruel to let animals freeze to death or suffer in weather their bodies were never designed to handle. But so more needs to be done to educate people about responsible pet ownership.
EmpthyCursed September 30, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Boy, all this over a cat..lol. Well, my cat goes outside,is clearly tagged, micro chipped,spayed, has ALL of her regular shots PLUS extra ones and flea drops EVERY month. She goes out everyday. She was found in a wal-mart parking lot as a VERY tiny kitten with a few siblings. Someone decided instead of taking them to someone who cared they were going to scatter them around the lot. Some got run over some didn't. It was aweful. I take very good care of my cat. Two neighbors even let her in their homes from time to time. Anytime kids walk by with their parents or teens afterschool, they give her a ton of attention. Yes, she kills mice,birds and baby bunnies, but she loves ALL people. She has also jumped into our neighbors car (just to help with the groceries). I guess after reading everyones comments, I understand both sides. If you approach the owner CALMLY about a problem you are having with their animal the owner will be less defensive. Some people are dog lovers and some are cat owners either way all animals can be trained you just need to be patient. I apologize to anyone she bothers, but I don't keep her inside all of the time. But, she deserves fresh air too. If she's not in a shelter, she should get her freedom, inside and out.
EmpthyCursed September 30, 2012 at 01:55 AM
I agree. If they have a tag..LEAVE THEM ALONE.
Randy1949 September 30, 2012 at 02:39 AM
No, this is really about the best way to deal with a societal problem in the most economic and ethical way possible. Is it less expensive to catch, spay, and release feral cats who will never have the prospect of becoming pets, or is it not? Some people see them as vermin. others see them as wild animals that serve a purpose (controlling rodents) with a place in the urban ecosystem.
Craig September 30, 2012 at 04:52 AM
EC: Soooo I guess you will not mind when the neighbor's Saint Bernard takes a gigantic crap in your flower garden, pisses on and kills your lawn, and walks on the top of your car? Dogs should not be allowed to run free like a wild animal and the same should apply to cats. FYI: the other night was quite cold....neighbors cat was caught by a serpentine belt, how humane is that? This should be viewed as animal cruelty, on the part of the cat's owner.
Colette Bembenek January 10, 2013 at 06:37 AM
Try Alley Cat Allies ... they have been around for decades and have reams of information about feral cats/feral colonies and more. YOU need to educate thineself and not display your blatant ignorance about 'declaw'..... my God, it's a 'manicure'.....they remove the FIRST JOINT OF EVERY TOE. It's as if someone amputated the first joint of every one of your toes on your feet or your hands; then told you, "Go learn to walk again without pain or work with your hands with the first joint of every finger missing." Speaking of WITCH, you are cold-blooded and need to think less than one- dimensional !


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