Please stop littering! There ought to be a law against it! I am not addressing those who consider our highways trashways, but the irresponsible pet owners who release their kitten litters "to the wild." Cats are domesticated animals. They do not belong in the wild.
Our neighborhood is overrun with feral cats. A few "make it" (to the detriment of our songbird and lizard populations). Many of the survivors are scrawny and starving, and a few are obviously ill.
Cats can reproduce as young as 4 months of age. Free-roaming female cats produce, on average, three kittens, although they sometimes have as many as six in a litter. One female cat can produce five litters a year. We are talking exponential growth. If you assume each female produces four offspring every four months, two of which are female, and each of those survive to produce a litter of four, two of which are female, and so on, one can have about 50 female offspring within a year. ...
The solution is simple: Spay and neuter your cats at an early age. There are local vet clinics that provide this service at minimal cost (e.g. Dogwood Park Spay Neuter Clinic). If you can't afford this, perhaps it would be wise to consider whether your current finances permit pet ownership. Maintaining a healthy cat (or dog) requires a substantial financial commitment.
Often the county is called in to trap feral cats. We all know what happens to them once captured. An alternative solution would be to trap the human "litterers" rather than the cats. We could trap these folks and let them mate as frequently as they wanted, but we would put them on a starvation diet. Maybe we'd throw in a few dozen fleas, some infectious diseases and a few predators, just for fun. Oh, and maybe a few weeks of blistering hot weather with thunderstorms or some freezing winter temps without any shelter. Irresponsible pet owners would get a firsthand look at the lives of feral cats and kittens.
For those who love pets and recognize their ownership limitations, there are ways to help. Consider volunteering at a local shelter, or offer to foster an animal. Support the local humane societies. Voice your support for no-kill shelters, and be willing to put a few dollars behind your support. Talk to your neighbors who have not spayed and neutered their roaming cats.
For the very soft-hearted with some financial ability, consider trapping, spaying or neutering feral cats and releasing them to their territories (at least they won't be making more kittens!). If you do this, ask your vet to "ear tip" the feral cat-it is an easily recognizable sign that this cat has been fixed.
But please, neighbors, stop littering our neighborhood. Someone has to deal with these excess animals, and the end often is not pretty. Who wants to see sick and starving cats, or watch little kittens who are so hungry they are grubbing for worms?
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