The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #105409   Message #2170007
Posted By: Dave'sWife
12-Oct-07 - 09:57 PM
Thread Name: BS: Buttje is in heaven now
Subject: RE: BS: Buttje is in heaven now
I think what or UK and european counterparts don't understand is that the US never had a housecat sized cat running wild. The "domesticated" cat (is it felis sylvestris?) is not native to the New World. We do have some small wildcats such as the Lynx and bobcat here but they are quite bigger. In Europe, there was always a wild cat about the size of modern housecats. All our housecats are imported and as such, they have no natural niche here. Over the few hundred years they've been here, they have decimated some species.

We also have a much larger problem in the USA with abandoned cats and large colonies of gone feral cats. Allowing an intact housecat to roam free here is the height of stupidity and insensitivity since conditions permit virtually out of control breeding. We simply have a much different situation.

The large female I have now came from a feral colony that was founded largely by one Tomcat. For 15 years that Tomcat, known as Big Gingerboy, bred with every female he could find over a 10 block area. We had so many kittens every spring that we were costantly finding dead ones, diseased ones, starving ones and so on. it was heartbreaking. I finally launched a Trap Spay/neuter and release program which helped but we couldn't stop the one prolific Tom becuase he was somebody's free-roaming pet and by law, we cannot trap a cat that belongs to someone. His owner felt it would be cruel to neuter him or keep him inside. Poor old Big Gingerboy was flea-ridden, was deaf from mite infection and had one ear torn off from a fight. His life was far from happy. He died the same spring that I rescued one of his grandaughters who is now my pet. He was also her father and she looks just like him!

Once Big Gingerboy went to kitty heaven, the colony collapsed, which greatly improved the our neighborhood. We got all the new kittens spayed and neutered, adopted out as many as we could and cared for the rest until they moved on, died, or chose to come inside. We still have some of my cat's siblings and uncles in the area, but they are now all cared for, altered, fat & happy pets. I wish it this was true for all such cats.

Stories like this are common in most US cities, I'm afraid. The rural areas don't have it so bad. I'll not tell someone else whether to keepo their cat in or out, but I will beg them to see to it that their pet doesn't make any more kitties for me to have to trap, neuter and release. Once you've seen the misery of these urban feral colonies, you never want to let it happen elsewhere.

So in summary - the reason for the movement towards keeping cats indoors in the USA is specific to the problems we have with cat overpopulation and the fact that they are an invasive species in our region of the world. We have to try and balance what's best for Felix and Felicia Kitty with what's best for the rest of the critters and what's best for those poor kitties eeking out an urban feral existence.

If anyone needs more info on help with feral cat colonies, please go to AlleyCats.org

Thanks