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Continued: Readers Write: (Sept. 18): Jim Souhan column, feral cats

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  • Last update: September 18, 2013 - 12:13 AM

JUDE KASSAR, Portland, Ore.

• • •

The purpose of a trap, neuter and release program for feral cats is to reduce their numbers. It is a better solution than poison, which affects other animals. It is a better solution than hunting, which the cats learn to avoid. The returned cats protect their territory from other cats. Fewer fertile cats means fewer kittens brought to the local shelters.

Cat lovers see it as kinder than the alternatives. Fans of birds and bunnies should see it as an effective means to reduce the number of predators. Fans of reduced government spending should know that it is an effective strategy that has been used successfully elsewhere.

DONALD BAILEY, Minneapolis

• • •

The Sept. 12 headline “Feral cats win a round at Minneapolis City Hall” was misleading. No one wins when cats are turned out to fend for themselves — not wildlife, not neighbors who consider the cats a nuisance, and not the cats themselves.

It’s cruel to even suggest abandoning cats on the streets of Minneapolis, where snow falls seven months of the year on average. In addition to freezing temperatures, feral cats face being hit by cars, infected with deadly contagious diseases, and attacked by other animals or cruel people, among other dangers. One trap/neuter/return proponent has publicly admitted that the average life span of a feral cat in Minnesota is just five years.

The proposed ordinance actually encourages people to abandon cats and opens the door for hoarders to amass cats and call them a “colony.” It also ignores the suffering of baby rabbits, squirrels, songbirds and other native wildlife whose small bodies are ripped apart by cats who hunt instinctively, even when they are well-fed.

The only way to effectively address the increasing numbers of homeless cats is by requiring that all cats be spayed and neutered, by cracking down on those who abandon cats, and by taking stray and feral cats to shelters, where they will at least be spared meeting a horrible fate on the street.

TERESA CHAGRIN, Norfolk, Va.

The writer is an animal care and control specialist for PETA.

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