Officials in Naugatuck, Connecticut, are currently mulling the creation of a new ordinance that would punish people caught feeding feral cats.
According to published reports, the measure being considered by The Naugatuck Board of Mayor and Burgesses would address an alleged feral cat “problem” in a borough neighborhood.
“A couple” brought the issue to the mayor’s attention and requested that a local law be created to “fine people if they choose to feed feral cats.”
So what will happen next? To start with, the Naugatuck attorney will review an existing ordinance in another community and draft one of his own. Then citizens will get to voice their opinions on the subject at a public hearing. Finally, the board will vote on whether or not to adopt the new ordinance.
Needless to say, that won’t happen overnight.
In the meantime, here are some things to consider:
- Feral cats are also known as “community cats” by some animal welfare groups.
- The ASPCA estimates the number of “community cats” in the United States to be in the “tens of millions.”
- Traditional methods of dealing with feral cat colonies include “lethal extermination” or relocation.
- Most kittens born into feral colonies don’t live long.
- Although the practice is often criticized, the ASPCA endorses Trap-Neuter-Return as “the least costly and the most humane, efficient way of stabilizing community cat populations.”
- Having a “colony caretaker” who “provides food and adequate shelter and monitors the cats’ health,” is key to successful TNR programs.
Personally, as someone who loves cats I have mixed feelings about TNR programs. On one hand I think they’re great. On the other hand, I think it’s sad that we need them at all — and I hope that there will one day be a time when we no longer do.
Until then, there are things we can all do to reduce the number of unwanted cats and kittens in the United States. Please, please, please, do not buy kittens from pet stores. Consider adopting from a shelter rather than buying a kitten from a breeder. Please think carefully about buying or adopting a cat or kitten — it is a big responsibility. Please spay or neuter your cat or kitten — they will be happier and healthier — and it is just the right thing to do.