The Furor Over Feral Cats

Everyone we have met or might meet in the future has probably read about the recent study that focused attention on domestic cats as killing machines. We are so glad that people who research and write about cats full-time have started to publish on the issue because our human is a devoted cat supporter, but she hasn’t done the research necessary to speak authoritatively on the content of the study.

We’ve recently been targeted by anti-TNR folks and don’t want to say anything unless we have sound evidence. The person who has been writing letters to the editor attacking Robin for helping community cat caregivers get their colonies spayed or neutered, vaccinated and treated for detectable disease makes reference to veterinary publications as though he has read enough to be an expert on the state of the profession’s views on feral cats. We don’t want to make the same kind of hollow claim to expertise, so we will point readers to some writers who really know the issue.

Vox Felina: Garbage In, Garbage Out

Steve Dale’s Pet World: Cats vs. Birds, New Report Suggests Cats Are Bird Killers. Exaggerated or Not, Talk Solutions

Catalyst Council: CATalyst Council Concerned about Consequences of Media Commentary

NPR: Do We Really Know That Cats Kill By the Billions?

Amy Shojai: Feral Cats, TNR & Cat Fancy Magazine

We will probably add more articles to this list as we find pieces that are primarily based on evidence or that offer necessary background to help people understand the players in the current controversy. Vox Felina lays that out for us. Steve Dale points out some of the other pressures on bird populations that are minimized when inflammatory coverage of research studies blaming cats glosses over them. Mr. Dale also calls for people to use reason as well as emotions when considering what to do about the feral cats’ situation and offers some thoughts on what humans can do humanely to reduce the population of feral cats and to reduce the conflict surrounding them.

If you want to read about the recent study, I’m sure you can find the link yourself. I’d prefer not to direct you to it. I hope you will understand. We read an article in the New York Times about that study. We also read the Vox Felina piece about the biases, history and poor research of the authors of that study, which it seems depends more on an agenda than on a search for truth or for a workable solution to the growing population of unowned cats.

Emotions run high on this issue for some reason, and we are trying to figure out how to handle our sudden position as a target in the controversy. In addition to unkind words in our local newspaper and on its website, we woke up on Christmas morning to read a comment from a TNR detractor who promised to skin cats and leave them on our porch to show us the truth about TNR. We moderate our comments, so we didn’t approve this one, but we did save it, just in case.

We wouldn’t be telling you about it now except to say this:

Words may not kill, but they do hurt. We would do well on all sides of this controversial issue to remember that.


7 thoughts on “The Furor Over Feral Cats

  1. Thanks for sharing my blog/article on TNR. I often think we’re preaching to the choir…but there is a silent majority who read, and consider all sides. Educated caring folks truly do care. Thanks for all you do.

  2. The issue of community responses to their unowned cat populations requires balance. A guiding principle should found in the words “humane treatment”. While TNR controls colony growth, community enforcement of anti dumping ordinances will also help control expansion. I cannot determine if a community values the life of cats over the life of the vermin they help control; communities must examine themselves to decide what practices reflect the values therein . In fact, our whole country should at some time determine what is an acceptable level of “collateral damage” in animal population control, gun control, and a host of other areas.
    Bullying is more than a symptom of psychological disorder . It is a danger to all.

  3. I’m so sorry Robin was attacked for helping feral cats. That person should be locked up for the threat. Too bad we’re not close enough to help with anything.

  4. I hope & trust you have turned that person who threatened to skin cats in to ALL of the appropriate authorities including local law enforcement and the FBI AND THEIR E-MAIL PROVIDER. Besides being awful people just for threatening harm to cats, whoever posted that to you is likely a harm to people since harming animals is a major sign of psychopathy.

    1. Yes, we did make reports. We also looked up the person’s email address and tried to figure out if he was nearby. As far as we could tell, he isn’t.

    1. Thank you for your support. I believe that no one should be bullied, and no one should bully. This is a complex, multi-faceted issue.

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