Church’s feral cat problem will only get worse

Managing feral cats is a challenging and complicated situation. To achieve success, a collaborative, long-term, sustainable approach is essential. The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is disappointed to learn Northside Baptist Church is ending their arrangement with Alley Cat Allies, who was providing trap-neuter-return (TNR) services to manage feral cats on Church property.

The Church's plan to remove the feeding station, shelters, and even cats because they "no longer want the cats on the property" will not stop strays from entering the property and re-establishing a feral colony. In fact, removing the stabilized, neutered and healthy feral colony will result in an increase in the number of un-neutered and unvaccinated feral cats in the area exacerbating the problem.

The ASPCA believes Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the only humane and effective long-term strategy to stabilize, control and eventually reduce the number of feral cats in a colony. Well-managed TNR initiatives actually help communities by stabilizing the cat population by eliminating the birth of more kittens while reducing fighting and disease transmission. Over time the well-managed healthy feral colony will reduce in size. Such successful initiatives also provide an opportunity to educate the community on proper care of owned cats to prevent them from becoming homeless in the future.

Alternatives to TNR, such as extermination or relocation, are frequently unsuccessful due to the extraordinary number of homeless cats in this country who quickly move in and repopulate, as well as a lack of resources and commitment to sustain such methods.

The ASPCA encourages Northside Baptist Church to meet with members of Alley Cat Allies to discuss mutually beneficial solutions. Ending collaboration will result in serious problems for the community at large, including an eventual increase in the feral cat population resulting in increased euthanasia of unwanted and diseased cats in the local animal shelter.

Dr. Steven Hansen, senior vice president of Animal Health Services at the ASPCA

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