Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Feral Cats

I am grateful that my readers are so passionate about the subject of feral cats and the proper treatment of them.  But I have not been clear, I see now, and readers that are not familiar with this blog may not appreciate the situation here, so please let me clarify (not that I expect to change any minds).

I live in a desert.  It is probably a place that you can barely imagine.  In the summer the temperatures soar to over 50 Celsius (120 + Fahrenheit), in the winter they drop to below 10.  There is no rain to speak of.

The native population of humans love to hunt.  Most of the indigenous species - from oryx to desert mice are extinct locally.  One species that has survived the extermination sprees and has adapted to co-habitation, is the sand cat, felix margarita sp. These are indigenous 'wildcats'. 

Our golf course cats are unlikely to be pure 'wildcats', but they show characteristics of those species, mixed with some Arabian domestic cat signs.  

My use of the words 'feral cats' has no doubt conjured images of monstrous domestic cats that decimate local wildlife populations in places like Australia.  Cats such as these are a menace and should be controlled.

Some of our population was also made up of pets who live on the compound, and sadly former pets, who have been abandoned.  A few of us have tried to look after these cats, feeding them, taking them to the vet when they are sick or injured, and having them neutered and spayed.

One of the comments from the previous post maintained that TNR programs are also cruel and seemed to suggest that it is more humane to euthanise the cats immediately.  I can see this argument; however, cats are territorial animals, and believe me, there is an unending supply of them here in Exile.  We hoped that by maintaining a stable population of neutered and spayed cats, they would look after the newcomers and chase them away.

If 'all' the cats are eradicated, in a few weeks we will have a new population to dispose of.  The idea of an endless treadmill of catching and killing cats does not appeal.

We all know that the world is far from perfect and there are many many calls on our charitable natures.  Perhaps for some people, caring about starving animals is frivolous.  Perhaps for some people seeing a kitten die a wretched death from poisoning is 'ok'.  I am not one of those people.

As for the abusive comments ...  I can see that the subject is one that arouses passions - quite rightly.  I am happy to listen to your point of view, whether you agree with me or not.  I will not resort to name calling or personal nastiness, and I expect the same of you.  I have not blocked any readers nor deleted any comments, yet, but if you are unable to be rational and reasonable, I would prefer you did not read my blog.



Elisabeth said...

Thanks Isabel, this is helpful. It lays out conditions where you live more clearly and hopefully might deter some of those unnecessary comments that do not help us to think further on these issues.

Anonymous said...

This is thoughtful, articulate post Isabel.

I have a cat and have had one for nearly 30 years. Our first cat was an ineffectual hunter and never managed to catch anything - but our current one is an accomplished ratter. Where we lived in the country she was a welcome addition to a neighbourhood with at least ten large stables and several small holdings. Anybody living in areas where livestock is kept apprecaistes that rats are a huge problem there - she earned her keep there not only in the neighbouring yard but in the pub cellars and our own storage shed.

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jabblog said...

Anonymous may be right in some areas of his/her analysis. However, word has not yet reached UK and cats are still part of farming life here and likely to remain so.

From this site:-

'Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii). Toxoplasmosis is one of the most common parasitic diseases and has been found in nearly all warm-blooded animals, including pets and humans. Despite the high prevalence of T. gondii infection, the parasite rarely causes significant clinical disease in cats-or any species.'

From this site:- http://www.fabcats.org/cat_group/policy_statements/toxo.html

Toxoplasmosis is most severe in 'high risk' individuals like 'Developing foetuses
Babies and young children
Very elderly people
Pregnant people (because of the risk to their baby)
Immunosuppressed people: for example, those receiving anticancer therapy, those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and organ transplant recipients on immunosuppressive treatment to prevent organ rejection'

Furthermore 'The risks of acquiring toxoplasmosis from a cat are extremely small and most people are infected through other routes (such as eating undercooked meat). Simple everyday hygiene measures can be taken to reduce the risks of infection (from cats and other sources) making it safe to own and enjoy owning a cat.'

If there were significant cause for concern there would be a worldwide outcry against cats and a widespread culling of them.

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Isabel Doyle said...

I feel the debate has moved way beyond the golf course into a realm that is irrelevant and basically, of no interest to me.

Thanks for your comments.


Anonymous said...

Isabel I am truely sorry that I have attracted this odd collection of comments to your post - please feel free to delete my comment and thereafter any relating to it. Certainly I always delete anon comments from my comments section, it is not cowardly to wish to disassociate yourself from someone who has clearly misunderstood your post. You don't live in a bird sanctury so that link was lost on me. I also tend to switch off to people who think that by shouting at me I am going to listen and respect their views. My advice just delete.
Oh and thanks for your concern about my eye. The swelling has gone down a lot but the colours are amazing.

Anonymous said...

Arnica cream always has a place in my medical cabinet. The swelling has almost subsided but the colours will be there for a while yet. I may post a second picture soon. (Bet you can hardly wait)

chiccoreal said...

Dear Isabel: Your wonderful ferel cats must look a little bit different than the ferel cats here. I imagine your cats may have a distinct appearance, may be sphinx/manx with huge ears and quite beautiful? Raising some ferel/strays that were abandoned on a farm where I use to live. I am continuing to raise them but need help. Many people are interested in helping these beautiful and rare animals. Lets hope they do not go extinct; you are doing a wonderful job helping these beauties of nature~

Kathe W. said...

Isabel- good post- and how wonderful that kinder gentler ways are taken with the cats in your area. Here on the other side of the world we too take care of our feral cats: http://feralcats.com/
It's the right thing to do.