Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dixon continues to struggle with feral cat issue

J-E News Editor
Two months after Dixon Commission members first brought the subject up, complaints continue to come into the city office about feral cats.

“People cannot set outside at their own house because there is cat fur on everything and the smell is horrible,” Mayor Linda Frederick told the commission in July. “One person even came in and said that he can’t set outside a night because the cat food that is being put out is attracting skunks.”
The Humane Society of the United States reports numerous common complaints in areas that have large stray and feral cat populations. Those include:
Frequent, loud noises that are part of the fighting and mating behavior of unneutered/unspayed cats
•Strong, foul odors left by unneutered male cats spraying urine to mark their territory
•Flea infestations
•Visible suffering from dying kittens and injured adults
•The death of wild animals who are cats’ prey

Several complaints stated that many of these cats were being fed by residents who felt sorry for them. Following their July discussion, the city ran several newspaper advertisements asking residents not to feed stray and feral cats, but those seemed to have been ignored.
According to city officials, they continue to get complaints  about the animals from residents in the West Leeper area of Dixon.
The problem now facing the city is that there is very little that can be done with the animals. The Webster County Dog Warden does not catch cats, and the Dog Pound does not house them.
According to the Humane Society, a feral cat is the offspring of stray or feral cats and is not accustomed to human contact. Feral cats are usually too fearful to be handled and will most likely never be adopted. Since a female cat can become pregnant as early as five months of age, the number of feral cats in a neighborhood can rapidly increase as most of these animals have not been spayed or neutered.
The Humane Society’s main solution to the feral cat overpopulation problem is neither a cheap or quick fix. On their website they suggest starting a “trap-neuter-return” (TNR) program. That program consists of:
•Humanely trapping community cats
•Spaying or neutering them
•Vaccinating them against rabies
•Surgically removing the tip of one ear (a “tipped” ear is the universally-recognized sign of a cat who has been spayed or neutered)
•Returning the cats to where they were trapped

For the time being the city has it’s hands tied.

No comments:

Post a Comment