For anyone ill-disposed to read cat stories, stop right here.
There is a big problem in the US of overpopulation of companion animals, especially cats. Feral cats will breed, creating more cats, and usually this results in hordes of kittens that starve to death because an area cannot support them. This cruel situation is in nobody’s interest.
Cat rescuers have developed a plan for dealing with feral cat populations (known more appropriately as “community cats”) called T-N-R, which stands for “Trap, Neuter and Release”. The idea is to trap all ferals in an area, neuter them, then release them back where they were caught. Almost every neighborhood in America has feral cats, also known as alley cats or stray cats. Sometimes people put food out for them, but mostly they are on their own. In cities where the weather is clement, these animals can make a living off the rodent population. What a boon this is to any neighborhood! Who wants rats and mice invading their homes? Feral cats wouldn’t dream of entering a house. Plus, rodents will gnaw and gain access even to the most intimate locations inside your house, and crap there repeatedly, while feral cats do their business outside and then politely bury it.
Recently several unfixed ferals showed up in our West Hollywood CA neighborhood. One mother cat, who had a litter of five, was caught, spayed, and, since she responded to human touch and kindness (most ferals don’t) she was placed in a very good home with two other cats. Her kittens are all fixed and are up for adoption with a no-kill fostering agency.
Another mother was discovered to have had kittens May 25, in the attic of an uninhabited duplex. Our neighborhood cat-rescue team approached the owner of the property and proposed trapping these kittens to both get them off his hands and allow us to socialize them (which can be done with feral kittens younger than twelve weeks) then find them homes. But he flatly refused to allow anyone on that property “because of issues of liability”.
“But we are all willing to sign hold-harmless waivers. Look, this is in your interest as well as ours.”
“No. I will not permit anyone on that property.”
Later we found out that the property owner intended to call an exterminator and simply kill the kittens and dispose of them. This is against the law, in fact it is a felony in California, but in these situations everybody involved keeps quiet and so no one can be prosecuted.
The kittens could be seen venturing out onto the roof of the duplex, where we were able to get distant images of them.
Then through a great stroke of luck, just after the kittens turned six weeks old the mother moved them down into the unkempt yard around the property. A week of planning and careful maneuvering on our part resulted in the capture of all of the kittens. They are now being socialized, and in six weeks all will be neutered at “FixNation” a wonderful non-profit here in Los Angeles which fixes feral cats for free. (The mother has also been caught and spayed, and since she is too wild for placement, released back into the community. The responsible male cat has also been caught and fixed, and he too was let go. Feral cats, being territorial, will not allow others, who might not be fixed, to move into the area.)
In a delicious stroke of irony the City of West Hollywood slapped a big fine on the property owner for allowing the property to become derelict and also for blocking a city sidewalk with unkempt vegetation. Ha!
Now my question is this—who would ever think that killing animals that might (or might not) be in your way is preferable to allowing people to take them off your hands for free? How do some people get so enamored of expediency that they will do anything, no matter how heartless, just because they think it solves a perceived problem (doesn’t even have to be a real one) as quickly as possible?
The human capacity for stupid cruelty beggars the imagination.