First of all, a big thank you to all of you who took the time to respond after our film Cat Crazed aired last week on the CBC. Most of you were quite complimentary. To those who took offense, I’d like to respond briefly.
Because I disagree with you doesn’t make me a cat hater. In fact, we made the film because we want more cats to live and live better lives. After doing much research I concluded, based upon all the evidence, that cats lived better, longer lives spayed and neutered and indoors. Yes, cats love to hunt. And so do dogs. But we domesticated both animals and have responsibility for their welfare and the damage they do to other species. As a society, we no longer tolerate packs of wild roaming dogs (except in remote areas and even then we do our best to control them) and we can’t afford to allow cats to roam either. Partly to protect birds, but also, for the cats!
My position on feral cat colonies and trap/neuter/return: to be tolerated and an interim solution at best. Mostly because I too oppose mass euthanasia. Sure as hell wouldn’t sleep nights if I was the one who had to pull the plug on dozens of cats every day. But it’s time for some serious science on TNR. We need studies done by biologists and population ecologists to see whether TNR truly reduces the size of colonies over time. Not vets. Vets aren’t trained to do this work. And when feral cat colonies are situated near wildlife sanctuaries and endangered bird populations, the cats must be moved. And as for the enthusiastic politicking by trap/neuter/return advocates urging municipalities coast to coast to put cash into supporting their work – let’s make that decision based on science, not sentimentality. The very best thing municipalities can do right now for cats, is insist upon licensing them. And work with cat groups to ensure ferals aren’t vulnerable to euthanasia as a result.
I’m a dog person. I’m also a cat person. And a bird person. But mostly I’m a person that thinks about the interconnectedness of all things on the planet. We’re all in mighty big trouble. Many solutions to serious environmental problems involve tens of billions of dollars and decades of intergovernmental panel discussions. Yet some solutions are within our reach. If you could drop 10 bucks on a license, spay and neuter your cat, keep it indoors and ultimately save the lives of millions of cats, why can’t we just do it? – Maureen