The Humane Society of North America estimates that there are roughly 50 million feral cats in the United States alone. Animal lovers and socially responsible people look for ways to contribute or volunteer in order to create productive solutions for a peaceful coexistence between the animal kingdom and humans. Part of what makes for constructive answers is the ability to recognize responsible boundaries, as animal hoarding hinders rather than it does help. One of the more successful community efforts comes from participation in the Trap, Neuter, and Release program.
The ability to control the feral population is an important task for the welfare of feline and human populations. Research indicates that of all of the domesticated animals, felines are the most likely carriers of rabies, which is a painful and potentially deadly disease to cats as well as humans. While there is no inter-species contagion, feline leukemia is one of the most pronounced deadly diseases feral populations face. It takes as little as one cat drinking from the same water source as an infected animal to contract this fatal illness. This is of particular concern to pet owners who allow their cats to go outside, as these domesticated pets are subject to the same threat of exposure.
The Importance of Feral Neutering
- Research shows that feral cats are more likely to be infected with enteric parasites Bartonella henselae and Toxoplasma gondii.
- Studies suggest that each feline, of breeding age, will produce approximately two litters a year, each averaging three kittens.
- Environmental trauma accounts for nearly 75 percent of that population to die off by six months of age, when a majority of cats are able to procreate.
- Yet, even with such a high mortality rate, it is estimated that nearly 80 percent of a feral colony would need to be sterilized to achieve a zero population growth.
- Reduce exposure to contagious deadly diseases.
For those in North America who are interested in getting involved with Trap, Neuter, and Release programs, find your state resources at the Humane Society. For those interested in information outside of North America email the Humane Society International (HSI) at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
This is Deb Duxbury, for Animal Life, reminding you to please spay or neuter your pet.