by Scott Smith
My step-father grew up on a farm in Iowa. As with all farms there was always a struggle with the cat population and a hunting rifle was a normal way to take care of that problem from time to time. I don’t know how old he was, but there came a time when his father let him know that it was his turn to “take care of the cats.” Often the animal lovers I tell this story to are shocked and horrified at what my step-dad did but I really believe that his heart was in the right place. Instead of killing the cats outright, he borrowed books from the local veterinarian, studied, got some ether, a rag and an old boot and proceeded to operate. He never was successful with a female but he became proficient at rendering the male cats sterile.
I was just reading through someone’s post about feral cats and how we should all be keeping our cats inside because apparently outdoor cats are the source of all of the world’s problems. There are so many holes in the writer’s logic that I don’t think I should even address that part (for instance she first points out that cats are not good for keeping down the rat population but then goes onto complain that cats are taking away food from owls and other predatory birds). I know that there are plenty of good reasons to keep one’s cats inside, most of them actually benefit the cat, however ranting at people who have and like cats with no willingness to have a conversation about it doesn’t really seem to solve any problems.
The real problem is unaltered cats. There are programs to kindly quell the over population of cats that don’t involve shooting at some poor cat who is just trying to survive by picking through your trash or catching a bird from one of your bushes (unless you have an Ivory Billed Woodpecker living in your yard that cat is probably not going to end the existence of that species). If there isn’t already a program in your area then do some research to see what it would take to get something going. Talk to the people at The Neuter Scooter and see what you can do to get a visit to your area or talk to your vet and see if he or she is aware of any of these programs in your area. The people at The Neuter Scooter will spay or neuter an actual feral cat (don’t try to put your cat, Fluffy, in a live trap to get a good deal, they’ll know) for $20. So have a bake sale and gather up some feral cats if you don’t want them to crap in your garden.