Feral Cats Pose Dilemma for Local Animal Agencies

Animal caregivers have different perspectives on how to care for the county's feral cat population.

Feral cats are widespread in Pinellas County, but local animal welfare agencies have different ideas about how to manage the issue.

Feral cats are the offspring of former pet cats or other feral cats who are not spayed or neutered. Feral cats are not just shy. They are not trainable and generally cannot be adopted.

The Trap, Neuter, Return Approach

One approach to managing the feral population is through Trap, Neuter, Return programs. Through these programs, cats are trapped by community caregivers, neutered by volunteers and then returned to the community by the caregivers. They are vaccinated against rabies, distemper and have one ear surgically tipped to indicate they have gone through the process, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

, which is based in Largo, has offered a discounted spay and neuter program since May 2011 for feral cats. The program relies on donations and volunteers. The most recent clinic was held Feb. 26.

According to Martha Boden, SPCA CEO, who attended Sunday's event as a volunteer, in areas where there are active programs there has been a decrease in the number of feral and adoptive cats. Feral cats normally live in colonies and manage their own populations, she said. Removing all of the cats does not affect the number because other cats would move into the area. 

"The goal is to stem the tide of overpopulation and reduce the number of animals," Boden said.

When feral cats are brought in to the SPCA, they are not picked up because of the danger of bites. In rare circumstances, a feral cat that goes through the spay/neuter process later becomes available for adoption. Sometimes the cat may be a former family pet that was left behind or left outside by its family, so it moved into a colony and ended up being brought in as a feral cat, volunteer Phyllis Combs said.

The County Perspective

Pinellas County law does not allow cats or dogs to be at large. For cats, this basically means cats outside need to be in a screened enclosure, or with an owner on a leash or under voice command, where someone can make sure the cat does not get injured by people or animals, said Linda Britland,  field manager.

"The big picture is cats suffer in the wild in Florida," Britland said. "It is inhumane to allow a cat to be outside in the elements without a loving, caring home. It is dangerous for the cats. They can be attacked, hit, shot and poisoned."

Placing or offering food or garbage outside, which can attract cats, dogs, raccoons, coyotes and other wildlife, creates a public nuisance, according to county law, Britland said. It is also a public safety and health issue, especially if an animal with rabies bites another animal and then comes in contact with a human, Britland said.

The county does not actively look for people who take care of feral cats in the community, Britland said.

"However, if we get a complaint based on another citizen's concern, we will get the police involved for a public nuisance" violation, she said. "If you love cats, license it, neuter it, and take it home with you."

Everyone does seem to agree about educating the public of the importance of spaying and neutering pets, Britland said.

Resources on Feral Cats

Albert D March 03, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Here's how TNR-MATH works (and how most of you are so easily conned and deceived): "In NYC there are currently 465 registered TNR colonies. When TNR began in these colonies, 6047 cats were present – today, there are 4523 cats present, a decline of approximately 25 percent." (Quoted from Alley Cnt Allies who are SO proud of this.) 6,047 cats REDUCED the total by 1,524 cats, about 127 PER YEAR. That's only 0.08% of the 1,806,310 feral-cats within the city's limits. (data taken direct from TNR-advocates' own resources) Apparently, if you TNR 4 cats and 3 die from being flattened by cars this is a 75% decline of feral-cats everywhere. Guess how many have been born IN JUST THE LAST 6 MONTHS (hoping like hell that they're not breeding every 4 months). Let's do the math... (1/2 total = females) 903,155 X 5 (avg. number in a litter) = 4,515,775 NEW CATS. Which lowers the number of them that have been reduced by TNR idiots to only 0.024%. THEY ARE GOING BACKWARD. Guess how many will be born in another 6 months? (4,515,775 / 2) X 5 = 11,289,438. The 1st 903,155 females are still breeding, so add 4,515,775 more. Add the original 1,806,310, totaling 17,611,523 CATS IN 1 YEAR. Which means that TNR groups have only reduced the cat-population by 0.008% of them. That's not even 1/100th of 1%. Alley-Cat-ALL-LIES can't even reduce cats in their own city, yet they promote it as a worldwide solution. Then even bigger fools fall for it and promote it.
Albert D March 03, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Look up the term TNR advocates LOVE to use, their candy-coating feel-good term of "Death by Attrition". This means their cats will die from disease, cat-attacks, animal-attacks, exposure, road-kill, starvation, being poisoned by anything a cat finds in its environment, etc. ALL their cats suffering for how many weeks or months it takes to die that way. This clearly falls under the laws of cruelty to animals, animal-abuse, animal-neglect, animal-endangerment, and animal-abandonment. Including being in direct violation of every invasive-species law in existence. Not only are they cruelly torturing cats, but also all wildlife they inflict their cats upon. Their cats ripping the skin off of and clawing the guts out of wildlife to use it as slowly dying twitching play-toys. As soon as all the "fun" has drained out of their play-toy, they go on and find another one to torture. This is no different than if cat-owners went to a pet-store and bought canaries and hamsters then threw them at their cats to watch their cats tear them apart for their amusement. What about all the native predators that depend on those animals for their ONLY food? Their cats cause all those animals to STARVE TO DEATH. TNR-advocates' cruelty knows no bounds. They're not doing this out of any goodness of their hearts. THEY DON'T HAVE HEARTS, nor minds. Proved 100%.
Albert D March 03, 2012 at 03:50 PM
TNR-Advocates "Vacuum Effect" is an absolute 100% LIE. There's an interesting study done by the Texas A&M University on TNR practices. They started out with about 12 sterilized cats. At the end of 9 months they had over 30. An increase of more than 200%, all moved in of their own volition. This isn't due to any mythical "vacuum effect" that cat-advocates spread and lie about so often. You would have had to remove cats to create a vacuum for others to replace them. The exact opposite happened in this study. Simple reason being: CATS ATTRACT CATS Cat scents attract cats. This is why they spray everything; to attract mates, rivals, and mark territory. Cat sounds attract cats. Mewing kittens will even attract stray toms who kill the kittens if they are not their own (basic feline behavior of any cat species). If you want more cats, keep some around. More will find you. Get rid of them all and there's no reason for other cats to come to that area. I proved this myself by getting rid of every last cat on my own land. ZERO cats moved in to replace them. Another interesting finding, sterilized cats very poorly defend their territory. Any new cats see this as easy-pickings and move in to take over. If that cat-colony is being fed then non-sterilized cats will actually overtake the sterilized colony's food-source because the non-sterilized cats are not as docile and complacent.
Albert D March 03, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Be cautious about suggesting that any cats rounded-up from outdoors be used for adoption or you could be held criminally responsible for destroying the lives and finances of families and their pets. There's no way to know a wild-harvested cats' vaccination history, if any, nor their exposure to all the deadly diseases cats carry. If a cat has contracted rabies then a vaccination against it later will do no good. It's already too late. There's also no reliable known test for rabies while keeping the animal alive. They really need to be destroyed after they are trapped. It's the only sane and sensible solution. This is precisely why all wild-harvested animals in the world, of any type intended for the pet-industry, must undergo an extended quarantine period of up to 6 months before transfer or sale of those animals to prevent just these things. Cats are no different than any other animal when harvested from the wild. You're just risking this following story happening in every shelter across the land. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/09/23/2631106/rabid-cat-adopted-from-wake-county.html Adopting any cat that's been taken from outdoors is just playing Russian Roulette. Stray-cats, the very source of all feral-cats, need to be euthanized too or you'll never be rid of the feral-cat problem.
Albert D March 03, 2012 at 03:59 PM
These are just the diseases they've been spreading to humans, not counting the ones they spread to all wildlife. THERE ARE NO VACCINES against many of these, and are in-fact listed as bio-terrorism agents. They include: Campylobacter Infection, Cat Scratch Disease, Coxiella burnetti Infection (Q fever), Cryptosporidium Infection, Dipylidium Infection (tapeworm), Hookworm Infection, Leptospira Infection, Giardia, Plague, Rabies, Ringworm, Salmonella Infection, Toxocara Infection, Toxoplasma. [Centers for Disease Control, July 2010] Sarcosporidiosis, Flea-borne Typhus, and Tularemia can now also be added to that list. Cat-Transmitted PLAGUE: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8059908 http://www.pagosasun.com/archives/2011/07July/072811/webplague.html (links to other cat-spread-diseases for proof removed, constrained by a 2 URL limit apparently)
Albert D March 03, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Even worse, cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasite they spread through their feces into all other animals. This is how it gets into meats and humans get it from meats, cats roaming around stockyards and farms. This is why cats are ROUTINELY destroyed around gestating livestock or important wildlife by shooting or drowning them. So those animals won't suffer from the same things that can happen to the unborn fetus of any pregnant woman. (Miscarriages, still-births, hydrocephaly, and microcephaly.) It can kill you at any time during your life once you've been infected. It becomes a permanent lifetime parasite in your mind, killing you when your immune system becomes compromised. It's now linked to the cause of autism, schizophrenia, and brain cancers. This parasite is now also killing off rare and endangered marine-mammals along all coastal areas from cats' T. gondii oocysts in run-off from the land. Its strange life cycle is meant to infect rodents. Any rodents infected with it lose their fear of cats and are actually attracted to cat urine. http://scitizen.com/neuroscience/parasite-hijacks-the-mind-of-its-host_a-23-509.html Cats attract rodents to your home with their whole slew of diseases. If you want rodents in your home keep cats outside of it to attract diseased rodents to your area. The time has come to destroy them all whenever spotted away from supervised confinement. There's no other solution. We have nobody but cat-lovers to thank for this disaster.
Albert D March 03, 2012 at 04:02 PM
j. Bader, the only ignorance being displayed is your own.
Albert D March 03, 2012 at 04:05 PM
So, for 10 years those cats have managed to destroy all native wildlife in the area, from smallest of prey to the largest of native-predators that they starved-to-death, while also spreading any diseases to which there are no vaccines available. And this is a "success" to you? WOW
Albert D March 03, 2012 at 04:06 PM
You might also like to know: If you advocate for cats as rodent-control on farms and ranches you've already doomed them to being destroyed by drowning or shooting when it becomes a financial liability more than any asset. Ranchers and farmers worldwide are fully aware that cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasite can cause the very same birth defects (hydrocephaly and microcephaly), still-births, and miscarriages in their livestock and important wildlife as it can in pregnant women. Consequently, this is also how this cats' brain-parasite gets into your meats and onto your dinner-tables, from herbivores ingesting this cat-parasites' oocysts in the soils, transferred to the plants and grains that they eat. Not even washing your hands in bleach will destroy this parasites' oocysts if you have contracted it from your garden or yard that a cat has defecated in. This is why any cats are ROUTINELY destroyed around gestating livestock and wildlife-management areas in the most efficient, humane, and least-expensive method available. Common rural practice everywhere. The risk of financial loss from dead livestock and important native wildlife from an invasive-species cat is far too great to do otherwise. This cats' parasite is now even killing off rare marine-mammals along all coastal regions from run-off containing this cat-parasites' oocysts.
Albert D March 03, 2012 at 04:06 PM
The next time you bite into that whole-grain veggie-muffin or McBurger, you need to just envision biting down on a shot-dead or drowned kitten or cat. For that's precisely how that food supply got to your mouth -- whether you want to face up to it or not. It's not going to change reality no matter how much you twist your mind away from the truth of your world. If you want to blame someone for the drowning and shooting of cats, you need to prosecute yourself -- every time you eat.
Albert D March 03, 2012 at 04:12 PM
You love NY? Then you might like to read below how your home-turf TNR group, Alley-Cat-ALL-LIES has so successfully and easily DECEIVED a MORON like YOU. LOL Shall we judge TNR advocates by all the NATIVE animals that your INVASIVE-SPECIES-CATS TORTURED TO DEATH, BY DISEMBOWELING AND SKINNING THEM ALIVE WHILE YOU ENCOURAGE AND APPLAUD THIS?
Albert D March 03, 2012 at 04:13 PM
If you've been practicing TNR for 15 years, then I hope you'll be successfully convicted of cruelty to animals for 15 years of your crimes against all of nature and all of humanity.
abigail adams March 03, 2012 at 04:46 PM
I hope that Albert D is under the care of a physician. It sounds as if he might be a danger to himself and others. Albert's vituperative, and ad hominem personal attacks (and use of caps) do not add to the dialogue. He probably voted 2,240 times. Peace Albert, peace.
John March 03, 2012 at 08:23 PM
About a Year or so ago I contacted a few cat rescue people here and they wanted nothing to do with the feral cats and couldn't even recommend someone to call to catch them in my neighborhood. So, I bought a humane trap on ebay for $35.00. I just have the SPCA pick them up. I'm not paying to TNR, I don't have a dime to spare. My yard smelled like a litter box. They spray my car cover, bushes and even the front door to my house. The smell was just terrible and they were getting out of control. I saw a cat run up in my tree one night and catch a squirrel. I can't tell you how many dead or dying birds, rats, mice and squirrels I find around the house. I even had a dead rat on my car. I have cameras around my house and saw the cat that did it. It was a black feral cat that a neighbor down the street was feeding and I was trying to catch it for months. That was the one that always climbed on my car. I had to call the SPCA and complain about her feeding the cat. Then I was finally able to catch it and get rid of it. In less than a year I caught about 30 cats. I stopped for a while, but I'm noticing a few cats again. It's a pain in the butt, but it looks like I'm gonna have to set the trap again. Some of the cats I caught looked like they were in a fight with Edward Scissorhands. They were a mess..
Mariafullofgrace March 04, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Albert D - clearly you hate cats. Fine. That's your right. But boy oh boy, you sure seem to have a deep seated need to see innocent animals killed. You've angrily commented on almost every post. Probably most of the 2000 votes to kill are from you. It's sad that any human's heart can be so filled with hate against an innocent animal. Animals WE humans domesticated and brought into our lives. TNR works. Colonies are managed and animals die out through attrition over time. Amazing that the solution that works so well up north "cannot" work down south.
Albert D March 04, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Destroying cats is NOT a fear of cats nor even hating cats. Why do mentally-unbalanced and psychotic cat-advocates always presume that if someone is removing a highly destructive, deadly disease spreading, human-engineered invasive-species from the native habitat to restore it back into natural balance that they must hate that organism? Does someone who destroys Zebra Mussels, Kudzu, Burmese Pythons, African Cichlids, or any of the other myriad destructive invasive-species have some personal problem with that species? (Many of which are escaped PETS that don't even spread any harmful diseases, unlike cats.) Your ignorance and blatant biases are revealed in your declaring that people who destroy cats must somehow hate or fear cats. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is people who spread a destructive invasive-species that tortures-to-death all other wildlife that have zero respect for life. They don't even care about their cats dying a slow torturous death from exposure, animal attacks, diseases, starvation, dehydration, becoming road-kill, environmental poisons. etc., the way that ALL stray cats suffer to death. They don't even respect their fellow human being. This speaks more than volumes about your disgusting character. People like you should be locked up in prison for life for your cruelty to animals. If you let cats roam free you are violating every animal-abandonment, animal-neglect, animal-endangerment, and invasive-species law in existence.
Albert D March 04, 2012 at 01:36 AM
If people DO hate cats today, have LEARNED to hate cats today, you have nobody but yourself and everyone just like you to blame. YOU are the reason people are now realizing that all excess cats must be destroyed. You've done so much to make people care about cats, haven't you. THIS IS YOUR FAULT and THE FAULT OF EVERYONE JUST LIKE YOU. You have NOBODY but yourselves to blame. You can take that all the way to the next shot-dead cat's grave.
Albert D March 04, 2012 at 01:42 AM
I've had to shoot HUNDREDS of them in the past. Not one has returned in about 2 years now. Took me about 2 hunting seasons to clean my land of them. For more urban areas check into any 700-1200fps air-rifles and use pointed vermin pellets. Many of the newer and faster air-rifles even come with a sound-suppressor design built-in. If this faster and much more efficient method (it's the ONLY method that is faster than cats' breeding rates) is not allowed by you there's always the SSS and TDSS Cat Management Programs. Legal on every square foot of this earth. (Shoot, Shovel, & Shut-Up; or Trap, Drown, Shovel, & Shut-Up) Be sure to bury or incinerate the carcasses to prevent wildlife (or humans) from any of the deadly diseases that cats are spreading today.
Albert D March 04, 2012 at 01:54 AM
p.s. Outfit your rifle with a good illuminated-reticle large-aperture zoom scope and a laser-sight. Not only does this afford a precision and humane kill every time (no ammo wasted either), but also makes it useful during the times of day when cats are the most active, dusk to dawn. These simple accessories are how I managed to get every last one of them in my area. Good luck! You mention you have outdoor cameras too. I used my IR wildlife surveillance system as well. I baited all the roads in my area with tuna and sardine oils. Leaving a trail right to the IR lights in my yard and my wildlife feeding area. Any cats using roads in the area at night would follow these scents right to the sights of my rifle. Effectively turning my home and land into a 100% fatal cat-trap. I bet I shot over 60% of them right from my (slowly and quietly opened) front door at night. Just watching for signs of cat in the outdoor monitor while surfing the net or watching shows at night. You can get rid of all of them in about a 1-2 mile radius this way.
Albert D March 04, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Here's some important information to help you understand "cat-lovers" and their cats. Something I discovered when local "cat-lovers" (an oxymoron if there ever was one) were using cats to overtake my land and woods, eventually even by moving my property markers when using their cats had failed -- failed because I got the legal go-ahead to shoot them all on my land. (An expensive many $1000s lesson for these property-thieves, surveyors are not cheap.) I often wondered why they kept releasing new cats onto my land even long AFTER they already knew that all their cats were being shot to death, they were told this is what was going to happen, and was happening. Clearly something else was motivating these people. How many do you know that keep releasing cats after seeing many of them become road-kill, harmed by cat and animal attacks, die of diseases, killed by environmental poisons, etc.? (Like every last TNR-advocate for starters.) They don't care about cats, not in the least!
Albert D March 04, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Human Territorial Behavior By Expendable Proxy I have come to the inexorable conclusion that "cat-lovers" (an oxymoron if there ever was) that let their invasive-species roam free, especially those that defend feral-cats overtaking public property and wildlife areas, are only (cowardly) using cats as a proxy for their own territorial behavior. Like uneducated inner-city youth that will disrespectfully use loud music to stake-out a territory for themselves. As long as they can have one of their cats defecate in another's yard or destroy their property, animals, and wildlife; and the land-owner not have any recourse; the cat-owner owns that territory. It's time to put a stop to them using their "cute kitty" excuse for usurping and stealing others' property. If they want territory they can damn well buy it just like anyone else. They're using underhanded and manipulative means, putting (and sacrificing) live animals in the path of their envy and greed. Proving why they don't care about cats nor anyone else. Cat-lovers only want your yard, garden, or forest while making all others suffer for what they can't have nor own. Bottom line -- they want to control you and your property. That's ALL that "cat-lovers" are after. It's why they don't care at all if their cat nor any other animals, nor even other humans, get harmed by their goals and (lack of) values in life.
Samantha March 04, 2012 at 02:59 AM
What you are doing is GREAT and its so amazing how just reading one comment from this sad excuse for a person "Albert D" has just made me realize how important it is to do what you are doing!! So sad a person has nothing better to do then sitting behind a computer ALL DAY long posting hateful messages against a CAT.. WOW Its ok though for every ONE pathetic scum like this trying so hard to make people hear his hate I have met 100s more actually working hard to care for the animals that need the help... Maybe one day when KARMA catches up to the ALBERT D's of the world and they possibly end up homeless and starving just maybe one of these great caring people that feed and care for the animals will be kind enough to stop and give him a meal and shelter in the cold... Makes me so PROUD to be a good one.
Samantha March 04, 2012 at 03:04 AM
God I wish it was... I would be the first at that losers door. have you seen how many times he has posted about this?? Sad really he has nothing else to do
Jenny G March 04, 2012 at 04:37 AM
This "not a scientific poll" is just that. I have a feeling that the majority of the votes are coming from just one nutty person reloading their browser over and over voting for euthanasia. I'll leave that to the rest of you to guess who.
Albert D March 04, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Guess all you want. It isn't me. More cat-lovers' delusions and psychoses.
Glen Hagstrom March 04, 2012 at 03:00 PM
This is to Esteban, you and people like you should be turned over to be euthanasia!!!!!!!!
Wanda Collicutt March 05, 2012 at 06:15 AM
2657 heartless people, shame on you all. Euthanasia is just a nice word for kill, euthanasia is painful in most cases the animal is stuck into the heart with a needle, or are put into a gassing chamber to die a slow and painful death that can take hours, only the animals who’s owners pay for the pet to be killed will get the needle that paralyses them, strays and unwanted pets are stuck in the heart without being paralyzed, it cost too much for the shelters to paralyze them. TNR does work, and there is no risk to humans unless the feral cat is cornered, most feral cats will run from humans. As for pet cats, if irresponsible owner didn’t allow their pet cats to foam free, they would not be getting into fight with strays and feral cats. Humans are the reason for the feral cats of the world by not altering and keeping their love pet inside; if a pet is altered they don’t look to go outside.
Wanda Collicutt March 05, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Humane euthanasia is not done by a paralyzing drug. They are given a sedative to render them unconscious before receiving the lethal injection of 'pink juice'. Shelters will not put out the extra funds to sedate them.. or put them under first. : Everyone should read this! http://www.reachoutrescue.org/info/display?PageID=11681
dean miller March 06, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Well as for the comments that feral cats are wild and untrainable.....I beg to differ. I have tamed and trained many....in fact I have never found a cat I could not tame and I have 3 at my work now. I also might point out that cats were wild originally and did just fine. Then humans domesticated them....dogs too. So why cant we let them just live in peace and use the TNR to control them. What in heavens name is all the fuss about? Dean
Denise Melanson February 05, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Albert D must be a proud humane being that he loves to kill things. Nothing that makes you feel you more like a man than killing things in an unfair fight with a gun from a long distance away. He must have the man parts the size of grapes for being that brave.


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