S.F. Feral Cats Policy Good for Cats, Terrible for Birds

image
Illustration by Dale Stephanos

It's 7 o'clock on a dewy Friday morning as Paula Kotakis pushes through the brush just west of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. She's wearing a green nylon jacket, slacks, and muddied black athletic shoes — her cat-hunting outfit. As she rattles a scoop of kibble, out ambles Gigi, a fat gray feline who inhabits the thickets nearby.

"Gigi's pretty butch," Kotakis offers by way of introduction.

Not butch enough, apparently, to frighten off a 5-inch-long rat. In the tall grass west of the museum, Kotakis pulls out a cardboard box she keeps stashed there. It contains two empty bowls, into which she now pours some water and dry cat food. The latter come from the plastic bin, jugs, and crates of cat supplies she always keeps in her car's trunk. Kotakis steps back, waits, then exclaims: "Look, there's a rat who came to get the food."

Sure enough, a brown-and-white-banded rodent creeps along the side of the box. Gigi crouches, then feigns a lunge toward the rat, which retreats strategically into the box and behind the food bowl. Gigi stalks away 10 steps, then stops, turns, and glares back at her food.

This underbrush encounter unfolds with surprising naturalism, as if these feral animals barely notice Kotakis. She might as well have melted into the landscape: She has come to this spot so frequently, for so many years, that these urban creatures seem unafraid around her.

For three decades, Kotakis has spent around 20,000 hours of her spare time feeding and caring for what she calls colonies of stray cats, which live in the park, on the beach, and in other wild areas of the San Francisco peninsula. Her fascination began 30 years ago when she started work as a night guard at the de Young and heard cats' shrill howling outside. One night, while making her rounds at the museum, she looked out a window and saw a ghostly male figure carrying four boiled chickens on a platter, with a clutter of cats in tow. "I think a year went by, and I kept thinking about him as this mystical figure, this crazy cat man," Kotakis says.

In 1983, she noticed strays frequenting the museum parking lot, and began leaving them dishes of cat food. "I became sort of hooked," she says.

Ever since, Kotakis has spent most of every morning and evening, plus several hours on the weekends, attending to the cats that gather to eat her food. She can recount the births, lives, and deaths of hundreds of feral cats she has cared for over the years. Yet, besides the extraordinary amount of time and hundreds of dollars each month she spends on the cats, Kotakis seems the epitome of normal. She is married, holds down a $60,000-plus-per-year job, vacations internationally, and has more than her share of charm and social grace. She's like the most enthusiastic volunteer at a church, one who is chatty and eager to talk about work, and explain in detail the true path to salvation — in this case, saving cats from euthanasia.

Kotakis is not alone in her dedication. She is one of more than 100 self-described cat caregivers in San Francisco who prowl the city's underbrush each morning and night to refill hidden cat dishes. They see themselves as a vital force against an alternative they consider unconscionable: having feral cats, either abandoned or born into the wild (and thus, unsociable and unsuitable for adoption) killed at animal shelters.

The feral cat advocates (Kotakis calls herself and her friends "feral people") say their real objective is to reduce the city's population of feral cats by trapping and spaying as many as they can, then letting the neutered animals live out their lives in well-fed, outdoor comfort. This, they argue, is the most humane and effective way to reduce feral populations. This approach — trap, neuter, release, or TNR — is San Francisco's primary method of dealing with stray cats. A lifetime of daily outdoor feeding is supposed to correspond to each cat's trapping and neutering, but critics of this approach point out that there's no "F" for "feeding" in TNR. Who guarantees that each cat will stay fed? Doesn't feeding animals in the wild increase their population? And what's to say that food left for them doesn't support other unwanted and unsterilized varmints such as raccoons?


I first learned about Kotakis and the rest of San Francisco's feral cat people after reading an annual report submitted to City Hall in February by San Francisco's Commission of Animal Control and Welfare. I was surprised to learn that a group of people I hadn't known existed — feral cat feeders — enjoy significant backing at City Hall. When they complained about the Golden Gate Park landscaping project that took away hiding places for feral cats named Mouth and Miss Piggy, the report noted that the commission extracted a commitment from park managers to inform feeders whenever they plan to dig up brush.

The commission also boasted of obtaining free backstage passes to the annual Outside Lands music festival, so cat feeders can reach felines enclosed by fencing, and is seeking to pressure goatherders — San Francisco routinely hires them to use their goats as eco-friendly weed-eaters — to allow feeders into the fenced enclosures they place around weed patches to be cleared.

1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
97 comments
Woodsman001
Woodsman001

A quite hilarious posting by none-other than the demented leader of Vox Felina itself (found here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/... ):

(Comments were closed there so I couldn't reveal this mentally-deficient basket-case for the fool that s/he really is.)

>GerdaLobo Writes:

>But I have a serious question regardless of where anyone stands on TNR. How would one go about euthanising tens of millions of outdoors cats?

You fool, that's what shotguns, rifles, and handguns are for. You know, the "SSS Cat Management Program" that's sweeping the world--"Shoot, Shovel, and Shut-up". Legal EVERYWHERE, and there's not one thing that you nor anyone else can do about it.

>On Marion it took 19 years, and a lot of money to kill a few thousand cats.

The population of Marion must be really bad shots. I alone already shot up-toward 100 of them all by myself. Just five more this week alone. You're telling me the population of a whole island is that lacking in motor-skills? Sounds more like someone was raping the tax-coffers for 19 years. What's a few thousand? 3,000-4,000? It could have been all done in one season with 30-40 people like myself, just for the cost of the ammo. 19 YEARS? Total idiots must live there. Must be, or they never would have let the problem get that bad to begin with.

> How long will it take to kill tens of millions, and who will pay for it?

Hmmm ... let's do the math ... I alone disposed of about 60 to 100 cats already, in just 2 seasons. It would have been less if the mentally deficient cat-lovers in the area wouldn't keep adopting more every month (because they believe in the psychotic "vacuum effect" and must replace any that disappear, no doubt). You'd think the local humane-society would ask them the simple question, "What did you do with the last dozen cats we gave you? Make stew?"

Anyway... let's take the topmost estimate of feral cats in the USA being about 60,000,000 (some estimate 150,000,000). Now, considering they are rather sparse here, population-density-wise, and difficult to spot when they do roam free in all the woodland underbrush (but they do no less damage), let's increase the average of cats shot-dead in more densely populated areas to 100 cats per person per season. This means only 600,000 people in the USA, the population of a very small city, will have to get their marksman skill up to do away with ALL of them in just one short season. Now if everyone in the cities would put all those gangs to work, they already have guns, redirecting their energies ... we could be rid of ALL OF THEM IN JUST ONE SEASON! What a great summer-employment project for all gang members!! And they'll get their need to shoot something out of their systems! (But please, outfit them with shovels too, to bury all these disease infested cats so the dead cats can't do even more damage to all humans and wildlife.)

Who will pay for it? Every person desperate to get rid of the disaster you created. And of course we'll all have to sue every member of Alley Cµnt Allies and every other feral-cat group out there for everything they are worth before they are all thrown in prisons for their crimes against humanity and nature. That should buy at least a few more rifles and boxes of bullets. As well as stop them from destroying any more species and environments and spreading deadly diseases to all. A box of 100-rounds of .22's costs about $8 (less in bulk, I have many thousands of rounds sitting here from a deal too good to pass up). How much does it cost you to deal with just ONE cat? It costs a rifle-owner only $0.08 per cat. Total expense, no further costs incurred after that. $0.08 X 60,000,000 = $4,800,000. Total one-time expense. The price of about 20 average homes. And that's for the highest estimate of how many need to be shot. Could be as low as 20,000,000 feral cats, 1/3rd the costs. Even better, those close-out deal bulk .22s I bought were only $15 for 5,000 rounds. That's only 0.3 CENT per cat! 3 dead cats per penny! It doesn't get more economical than that. With costs like those it would only cost $180,000 to get rid of 60,000,000 cats, less than the price of an average home. Solving ONE WHOLE CONTINENT of cat problems -- PERMANENTLY.

>Who will pay for the truckload of legal cases that will invariably arise when pet cats get mistaken for ferals?

What legal cases? If a cat is not inside someone's home it deserves to die. Clear-cut case. Simple. If they don't care about the well-being of their cats and that of everyone else's wildlife, nobody else should give one concern about their cats either. Or should everyone send you a bill to rent out their land for the use of YOUR cats? I charge $10,000 an acre per week per cat. Got the cash? The only legal case you need to be wondering about at this point is how you're going to have to defend yourselves against being charged with the crimes you've committed against all of nature and all of humanity.

>What are the unintended consequences we will need to prepare and budget for?

What budget? Getting rid of 60 to 100 cats here only cost 60 to 100 X $.08 (the cost of an average round for a .22). $4.80 to $8.00 for the mathematically challenged. Two cups of Starbucks coffee to get rid of 60-100 cats? These cat-solution costs seem highly economical to me, considering all the $BILLIONS in damage that cats cause every year. Not to mention all the costs in testing, spaying, neutering, transporting, and disposal of these useless wastes of flesh. (btw: Just so you know that I'm not hawking Starbucks here ... I tried Starbucks' brew once, spit it out and threw the cup in the trash, horrid stuff. I might as well have just torn up those dollars spent. Why would anyone drink that bilge-water more than one sip in their lives?)

>E.g. on Marion there now is a massive problem with an out of control mouse population - who eat bird eggs and kill chicks - and the South African government has indicated it does not have the millions of dollars it will cost to try and eradicate the mice.

I see, so your cats destroyed LESS birds than the mice did? Could you cite some proof in this matter? Got proof of mice eating birds eggs or killing their chicks? This I've GOT to see! "News at 11: Grain-eating mice mutate into MEAT EATING MONSTERS WITH JAWS BIG ENOUGH TO SWALLOW WHOLE EGGS!" LOL You must write articles for the National Enquirer no doubt. Mind if I rub your useless nose in a turkey, grouse, quail, or other ground-nesting bird's nest so you can see the REAL damage that cats do, up-close and personal? You psychotic lying cat-licking cµnt.

The solution? Breed as many resident native predators as they can, gray-foxes do wonders if they have them, they don't even eat farmers' poultry, or use a resident reptile or bird-of-prey that relishes mice as their primary food-source. It'll all eventually stabilize within a couple seasons. Are you telling me that the officials of this island are as brain-dead as you are? Probably. No, most assuredly.

>TNR is imperfect in many ways, and not feasible in many locations.

Not only imperfect, but a perfect waste of anyone's time and energy. Because you claim that 60,000,000 feral cats can't be killed on-sight even more easily. Just imagine the mountain of disaster that you have created with the meaningless few cats that you still let destroy all wildlife by setting them free again. You haven't even scratched the surface, yet you claim to have the solution. All of you are truly delusional. As they say colloquially, "You've got one oar out of the water." "You're spinning a wheel in the sand," "You're not firing on all cylinders." Not only is shooting them all a quicker, and a more cost-effective way, but it will actually solve ALL problems. Unlike your psychotic beliefs that perpetuate all problems on-ad-infinauseum.

>To posit something that is impossible to execute as an alternative to a flawed approach is either profoundly ignorant, or profoundly cynical.

Ah, about time that you looked at your TNR policies objectively.

>How about devoting resources to all the promising research aimed at developing non-invasive sterilization methods for feral and wild animals,

And how many years are we going to have to wait for this imaginary solution? Another two decades of failures, like TNR? Oh, and did you actually say that you want to sterilize WILD animals to protect your cats? You do realize don't you, every time that you use the word "feral" to describe a cat, you yourself are claiming and admitting that a cat is not a natural part of the environment of native animals.

>instead of pouring those resources into histrionic marketing campaigns predicting the Apocalypse Meow?

And this is going to solve the death and destruction of native wildlife by your disease-infested, invasive-species, killing-machines, how?

>Prophecies of the apocalypse have a very bad track record, and their prophets end up being ridiculed.

But you as a prophet for feral-cats won't be ridiculed, is that what you are saying?

Ahhhh.... now we get to the heart of the matter. Not only are you insane, you think you're a prophet. ROFLMAO!!!!!

David
David

Thousands of years ago, in Egypt, humans made a profound and binding compact with cats. We agreed to take them with us and protect them, while they agreed to provide an essential service for us by keeping under control rodents and other vermin that threatened our food sources, and, thus, in times when humans were much more vulnerable to starvation, our very lives. The cats have never wavered in honoring that contract ever since, despite the number of times, such as during the Middle Ages, that we have let them down and turned on them with a viciousness peculiar to our species. Now that we’ve found other ways, via pesticides, to protect our food sources, some people have decided once again, to turn on our loyal companions, pretending either through arrogance or ignorance that the compact we made with them never existed.

We have never had such a long-lasting and significant arrangement with birds, with whom we have often been in direct competition for food and on whom humans continue to prey for food, every day, to a far greater extent than cats ever have. Yet, now, some base, treacherous humans, based on their self-indulgent and sentimental fascination with particular types of birds they have chosen to privilege are attacking cats once again, simultaneously abrogating our bond with them and scapegoating them for the fates of various bird species, blaming them unjustly for the results of human behavior. Spilling lies and fashionable pseudoscience from their mouths as they talk about “policy,” these people spit on honor and loyalty, while pretending to be acting for the greater good.

I, for one, will not join this vile, vicious, and faithless betrayal of those who have been our loyal friends for millennia, and I utterly condemn those people who participate in and perpetrate this treachery. Instead, I reaffirm and renew our bond with our ancient allies and declare my intention to stand by them and protect them from their enemies.

Woodsman 001
Woodsman 001

TNR programs are a dismal failure. Don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise.

For just two of the dozens of sites online that present the truth:

http://www.abcbirds.org/abcpro...

http://www.tnrrealitycheck.com...

Those cats that are released will still be decimating the native food-chain for all manner of animals larger than themselves, as well as destroying all the smaller animals that feed the larger ones. And if you feed a TNR cat colony they kill even more wildlife. A well-fed cat kills more animals than a starving one. They don't stop killing other animals just because they're no longer hungry. The healthier they are the more they kill. It's what they do, it's what they are. Lousy little killing machines, nothing more.

And don't fall for the song and dance about cat-lovers being animal-lovers, they are anything but that. They don't give one damn about any other animals nor even other humans.

The problem is just not the loss of bird populations either. Feral cats and neighboring farmers that let theirs roam free have decimated the food-chain in my woods. The resident foxes, owls, and other predatory animals no longer had a food source, the feral cats destroyed all the smaller animals that all the larger ones depend on. The native species all starved to death. That's what cats do to ALL native animals.

I found out that where I live it is perfectly legal to defend your own property and animals from destruction by others' animals. I lost count after dispatching over 20 of the lousy piece-of-sh!t vermin with a good .22, outfitted with a laser-sight and good zoom rifle-scope. I didn't have to waste even one bullet, making this solution highly economical as well. Just think of how many dollars and hours of your lives that you have spent trapping, transporting, calling, complaining, restoring damaged property, et.al. ... and still all the problems that these useless cat-lovers have caused remains.

It's time to give cats and cat-lovers the same consideration and respect that they have for all other humans and all other wildlife--that means NONE. Don't bother wasting your time arguing with disrespectful, inconsiderate, and ignorant cat-lovers either, as I stupidly tried to do too many times in the past. Just do what needs to be done and there'll be nothing to argue about.

This year owls and foxes have returned to my woods. The lousy cats are finally gone, but I'll shoot again on first-sight the first chance I get. The rewards for ridding your land of ALL cats is far too great.

David
David

Woodsman is obviously just another psychopathological shill for the pseudoscience circulated by the American Bird Conservancy, which has been cited by various independent analysts for complete reliance on small, dubious studies conducted by people with little or no standing in their fields. Of course, where is he directing your attention? To the American Bird Conservancy's website. And do I need to point out that this individual obviously loathes cats AND anyone who doesn't share his hatred? That's one thing I've seen over and over again in this debate: people who want to help cats have nothing against birds, while people who claim to be on the side of birds frequently confess quite openly to despising cats, to the point of bragging about how much they enjoy killing them. See Woodsman's text for proof.

Remember how many churches have rolled in the contributions by claiming that gay people were out to Destroy the Family. This is the same sort of utterly cynical lying for the sake of fundraising. For example, "A well-fed cats kills more animals than a starving one?" Sorry, if there's one thing I can say with confidence about cats, it's that they are lazy. A well-fed cat sleeps.

As for the owls, several recent studies by real scientists have shown that both hawks and owls are generally doing very well, aided by the open spaces that humans create. Where I live, grey foxes are on the increase, but there are far fewer rabbits than there used to be.

Woodsman
Woodsman

As I said, never argue with some ignorant cat-loving cµnt. Just do what needs to be done.

And if you don't live in an area where a firearm can be discharged legally, then I offer another valuable and humane method to counter the myriad problems that all disrespectful and inconsiderate cat-lovers cause for everyone else and all wildlife.

Anytime you see a cat off of an owner's property, use a pot-modded laser on it. Google for: pot mod laser. You get them for about 5$-$10 off of ebay from Hong Kong and China suppliers and easily increase their output to 100mw or more. I find that filing a small hole in the side of the barrel makes it easier to reach the potentiometer than disassembly and risking ruining it.

If you blind a cat in one eye they'll lose their depth perception and won't be able to hunt as effectively. If you blind them in both eyes they'll stay home near their food dish. This is instant and painless. It's even far more humane than declawing. It is also anonymous. In daytime nobody will even know it happened or who did it--for those of you who don't want to deal with or confront the ignorant and inconsiderate cat-lovers. I find that the blue lasers are more powerful and effective than the green ones after being pot-modded, lighting a match much more quickly. You don't even have to blacken the match with a black "sharpie" to get it to light with a pot-modded blue laser. I keep one of each in my pocket for those cats that are too difficult to shoot cleanly with a .22. I don't like to see any animal suffer. If I can't get a clean shot then they get blinded in one or both eyes.

The drastic problems that cat-lovers have created by their blatant disrespect and lack of consideration for their environment, all other humans, and all other animals now requires drastic actions by all those who actually care.

Stresslesstravel
Stresslesstravel

Are you seriously that callous and heartless when it comes to cats? I am an animal lover, and I am not so self-righteous to think that I have the right to decide which animals are more important than others. I had a dog in the past, and I currently have a cat. I don't let him out alone because I fear for his safety, and think it's better to take your pet out on a leash- be it a cat, a dog, or a ferret. I wouldn't kill any animal unless my life, or the life of my family (pets included), was being threatened. How can you truly advocate killing all cats on-site? What if a beloved pet escaped from his/her home, and the owner was frantically trying to find him/her? This happens with dogs as well. I personally think that all pets should be microchipped for identification in case of escape, and that they should all be neutered/spayed as we do not need more uncared for animals in our world. I also believe strongly that people need to stop having so many babies who are unwanted and uncared for. Live and let live. It is the fault of people that there are feral cats. They have become part of the environment and ecosystem. You'd probably advocate killing mountain lions and cougars as well because they are feline predators. The animal world involves predators and prey, as does the human world. The higher mind dictates that we care for all living things in a respectful manner, and not attempt to eradicate a problem by killing a living being who is only doing what nature intended it to do. I think that it is a very sad world we live in when so many cats, dogs, and human children, are unwanted. We need to stop procreating until all existing creatures are adopted into loving homes. How can anyone have a baby, knowing that there are children in foster care wishing for a forever home? How can anyone purchase a "purebred" cat or dog, knowing that there are thousands in shelters and on the street, in need of love and care? There are wonderful sanctuaries for cats, www.cathouseonthekings.com and www.caboodle.com are both great places where unadoptable cats are given a beautful forever home in a safe open environment. If I had the funding I would do the same.Your posting is full of hate, and if theres' any karma in the universe you will have much misfortune in your future.

Larlarmm
Larlarmm

People miss the point of TNR: By killing individuals, you create an opening (niche) for the surviving cats to fill with their offspring. but, if you trap, alter, and release, you block that hole (or, niche) from being filled by another intact cat, who would come in with reproductive capabilities. This method works better than complete eradication, because a handful of individuals will survive the mass extermination, no matter how good a mark everyone is, and we will face the problem once again.

However, feeding these cats is counter-productive, you attract any of the reproducing cats in and increase the limiting factor to population growth by increasing the amount of food available. More food = more cats surviving. TNR, then stop feeding them!

David
David

Also, today, I attended a university seminar on conflicts between "Cat Caregivers" and "Bird Conservation Professionals," and the grad students in Wildlife Management had done a study of the attitudes of both groups. They found one striking difference: survey results showed that advocates for homeless cats tended to have an open attitude towards working with bird conservationists to reach mutually acceptable solutions. Bird conservationists were much more likely to be unwilling to cooperate and to insist that their solutions were the only right ones. The students said that they thought that the "cat people" would be the extremists, but it turned out that the opposite was true.

Thus, though I didn't expect it, I was handed statistical evidence that what Woodman 001 says is completely wrong in his characterizations. Cat advocates indicated that they were open to and optimistic about resolving conflicts. Bird enthusiasts indicated that their thinking was rigid and polarized -- as Woodsman 001 clearly demonstrates.

David
David

Where do you live, Woodsman? I expect that you're too much of a coward to tell me.

David
David

Let's take a step back to consider what's really going on here. It's interesting to me that basically the same article is appearing with different authors' names all around the country. When students of mine all start writing the same thing, it's usually because they've all found the same source. In this case, it's the American Bird Conservancy. They want to get people up in arms about birds for one reason: self-promotion. They want visibility and contributions. And they've found out that a great way to do this is to stir up controversy by scapegoating cats. They like to claim that cats are birds' #1 enemy, which is so ridiculous that it doesn't even deserve a response. Obviously, humans, via habitat destruction, pesticides, herbicides, etc..., are, by an overwhelming margin, birds' #1 enemy, but the ABC has found that being hostile to people and their appetites doesn't get them the donations they want, so they have found an alternative approach: they scapegoat cats in order to get bird lovers riled up, thus loosening their purse strings. As far as I can tell, "Matt Smith" is just one more shill for the ABC's standard anti-cat propaganda strategy (and they do have an explicit campaign strategy; check their website). The ABC will cite "scientific studies" that turn out to be full of figures pulled out of thin air to support their thesis. They're like conservative groups that pay "scientists" to conclude that global warming is a myth. I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I blundered into this controversy wondering "Where is all this coming from?" A little digging around quickly revealed the source.

Evan
Evan

I have spent over 600 hours in the past 5 years feeding, socializing and observing one feral cat colony. In all that time I have never found a dead bird. I have found 3 dead mice, all by the same cats, but not one bird. Though feral cats are often blamed for the decline in bird populations, there is no proof of this. Cats in feral colonies do not behave as top predators. They are on guard and focused on their own protection. They do not behave as recreational hunters. Feral cats do not behave in the same way as backyard cats. That's been my observation, and the colony is in a wooded area full of birds. I was surprised to discover this myself. I don't believe there have been any serious studies of feral cat behaviors in their environments. Just a lot of accusations. I'm not saying that they don't ever kill birds, just that it may be far less than is commonly believed. Also as the cats in the colonies age, they become less adept at hunting. So TNR is effective, as even the article pointed out in the last three paragraphs, and allows the cats to live out their lives. Is it a perfect solution to a problem caused by careless human pet owners? I don't know, but it values the lives of these beings who are in a difficult situation through no fault of their own. Evan

nf
nf

Good for you I admire what you are doing. I wish there were more people like you out there.So many of these poor cats either lost their way or were abandoned by some selfish pet owner that had no business having an animal in the first place. Especially, a cat. People just assume that cats can survive outside by themselves. And this is so not true. I rescue cats myself and I have two feral males - they're my best pets. They're absolutely amazing and loyal loving guys. And to think they lived on their own outside for several years just brings tears to my eyes.They deserve a chance too.nf

Lisa
Lisa

Dan, are you going to argue with me here about the fact that humans in this city are less destructive than feral cats are or ever will be? Go for it. Prove me wrong. I know the exact kind of people who are bothered by the fact that I feed my ferals. Territorial a** holes. No , no, I'm not trying to point fingers at anyone, honestly, but there was a few... That's my subjective opinion and I will stick with it. Some people just simply hate cats. Well, I simply hate the way some people look, smell, talk, eat their lunch or talk to their wife on the phone. Yet, I'm not going around getting rid of them or banning them from my block, criticizing them on Yelp, etc., right? Native birds are destroyed by all the trash thanks to humans like you. Sorry, the population of ferals are much smaller as oppose to human ratio in this city. Who is doing more harm - you do the math. As long as you don't get stabbed by a feral cat while riding SF MUNI, you really should just go on with your life. "Feral cat people" are just a very easy target in this situation.

David
David

Lisa,

Exactly right. This whole issue reeks to high heaven of scapegoating and the arrogant, totalitarian desire of some to force the world to conform to the way they think things should be. It would be nice if these myopic control freaks could recognize that it's precisely attitudes like theirs that have resulted in massive environmental destruction around the world. I mean, have you seen a cat driving a bulldozer recently?

nila
nila

I also failed to mention in my post, that it is extremely important for the Veterinarians and all the Animal shelters and Adoption Agencies in your City and ALL Cities seriously reccomend to keep your cats inside. So many people just assume if they have a cat they can and should let the cat outside. And this is so far from the truth. Do you know what the life expectancy of an outdoor cat is, not very long - especially if it has not been spayed or nuetered. They are more prone to getting killed,run off and getting deseases- you do not want them to get. As far as I am concerned you don't deserve to have a cat if you do this to them. They are very loving, sweet loyal and intelligent animals and they do not deserve to be put in harmsway.....It is so heartwrenching when I see these signs up along the streets about a missing pet(cat). Sometimes they get them back, but most of the time they have been some foxes or coyotes lunch! Please keep your cats in. This will help....

Nadine May
Nadine May

Dan, I don't think you bothered to read my response to the original article or my response to Victor. You're directing your anger at the people who are solving the problem. If I feed a feral cat and do nothing about fixing that cat, then, yes, I am contributing to the problem, and there are unfortunately people who are like that. But WE, the "feral people" -- who spend our time and energy and money to do Trap-Neuter-Return, in addition to providing food and vet care if necessary -- we are not only feeding the cats, but are taking the next logical step -- to spay/neuter them so that feral cats do not keep multiplying.

IF your intention is to kill all feral cats, then you'll have to figure out a way to do that YOURSELF -- we are not going to ever trap and kill healthy animals; we trap them only to do TNR, unless, of course, they're very sick and suffering. And don't forget that even if you get rid of all feral cats (!!!) you would then have to convince all the people who have tame cats and who let them go outdoors to keep them indoors. After all, you're talking about ALL cats, right? I do my best to convince people to keep cats indoors (mine are, certainly) because there are lots of dangers out there -- predators, cars, evil people, diseases they can get from other cats, parasites, etc. and they're an awful lot better off staying at home -- unless you have an enclosed backyard, for example. But guess what -- most people who let their cats go outdoors are not going to change! So you would still have the problem.

Feral cats do not usually have the option of being indoors. So here's an idea: what if every single person who cares about birds (let's start with Audubon Society members -- millions, right?) goes out and adopts a feral cat -- or two? Many ferals, it is true, will never get used to being indoors, but many would. They may take years to get socialized, or they may never get socialized, but a lot of them would adapt to being indoors eventually -- if provided with food, water, shelter and kindness -- even if you can never pet them. I've done my part -- both my cats were rescued from the street, so they're not outdoors anymore. So start another movement -- Adopt a Feral Cat!!

Bottom line: feral cat people are not causing or increasing the problem, they're FIXING it!! Now you try!

nila
nila

Maybe your not promoting the spay, nueter program enough.... Also, alot of the feral cats are not really true ferals. They either got out of a previous owners house or wandered off and got lost. And then alot of them join these packs for survival. But some of them might be considered a feral- because it has always lived outdoors and had to fend for itself. Their mothers are sometimes a domestic cat that is allowed outside. My point is, the so called ferals make great pets.......... I rescue cats and I have two previous ferals and they are the best cats I have. They are incredibly loving and they don't fight with the other cats. It's amazing. So, don't give up on feral cats!

nila

dan
dan

Lisa, your ignorance must be bliss. How can you justify the feral cat problem by pointing out that humans are more destructive. Do you really not see the backwards logic of that statement? I'm sorry for being negative about this, but the fact that cat people refuse to acknowledge that they are increasing a problem is very frustrating to those of us who clearly see the huge problem that feral cats and their guardians cause. And yes, this IS my problem. But YOU are causing it. So in the end we must BOTH deal with it.

Facts:Cats are NON-native introduced predators in the ecosystemCats kill millions of native birds every year.Humans are responsible for the feral cats

Connect the dots.

David
David

No, Dan, it's not "your problem." It does not belong to you. It's not your business to decide what form of life is a "problem" and what species is more deserving of life on this planet than any other. "Your problem" is one you're blind to: your own arrogance.

nf
nf

I am not sure in touch with reality - but, your right on one thing - cats were introduce into this country.Cats do kill some birds, because like you they have to eat to survive.....However, an outdoor cat usually eats rodents. Yes and humans are more destructive that feral cats. Over in Europe feral cats are used constructively - they are worshipped - loved and well taken care of. You do not want to harm a cat over there.No, cat people are NOT increasing a problem, they are caring human beings and they are just trying to help and protect these creatures. Just because you are a cat hater - you should not even be allowed to post. We are here to try and fix the problem not attack.Yes, ignorant people are responsible for the over population of feral cats. And this is very sad for the cats in the US. There are many humane ways to take care of feral cats without killingthem. How would you like it if one these cats just turned the gun on you!!!

But of course too, your probably one of the writers and are trying to keep your blog going.nf

Lisa
Lisa

I feed 4 ferals on my street. They are all fixed. And I feel like it should not be any one's business to criticize me or stop me from feeding hungry creatures of any kind. I'd rather feed the animals that depend on me for food, than give a buck to a crackhead that will NOT spent on a meal. Yet, we all spare some change... "Feral cats destroy native bird population", yeah, and people don't. Ever been to the Ocean Beach after a sunny day? It's a mine field of bird carcases. Yup, army of SF's feral cats come out the beach, kill birds, leave trash around and a whole bunch of empty PBR cans... I don't think so. All you cat haters need to mind your own stuff. If you have a problem with feral cats being fed, remember, it is your problem, not mine, so deal with it.

Nadine May
Nadine May

In response to Victor, just curious -- just who is going to trap and kill millions of feral cats? Animal shelters have seen their funding cut to the bone, which means that animal control officers ONLY have the time to trap injured or very sick animals. Bird people? - I really doubt it. We "feral cat" volunteers are the only ones who seem to be willing to commit the time and money and energy to do TNR and care for feral cats -- and we would NEVER trap healthy ferals to be killed. And by the way, euthanasia is NOT cheaper than TNR -- any more than the death penalty is cheaper than keeping convicted murderers in prison for life. Instead, why not work to help the millions of birds who are killed by pesticides and habitat loss? That seems far more constructive to me!

Nadine May
Nadine May

As one of the people interviewed for the recent article on feral cats, I would like to correct at least some of the untruths and misleading statements therein.

First, a glaring omission: why is there no explanation of HOW the feral cats get out there in the first place? [A hint: it’s not feral cat people!]

1.It’s people who DON’T bother to spay or neuter their cats but DO allow them to go outside; when the females get pregnant or the males start spraying, they abandon them. The cats “go feral” and any kittens born become feral unless we can trap them when they’re still kittens.

2.It’s people who MOVE and simply abandon their cats, or people who decide they just don’t want their cats anymore, and dump them on the street or near a feral cat colony. I have found countless tame cats dumped at my feeding sites, but they don’t stay there, because I make sure those cats get fixed AND adopted to a good indoor-only home.

Last summer someone drove a whole family of tame house cats - 4 adults and 6 kittens - to the middle of Golden Gate Park and left them to fend for themselves near a coyote den. Two of us, who both work full-time jobs, spent dozens of hours, late at night, catching those cats. All were adopted to good homes. If we hadn’t done that, there might be a colony of 30 cats by now.

The article talks about feral cats “in the park, on the beach, and in other wild areas” – yet another misleading statement. The vast majority of feral cats are NOT in parks or on other public lands – they are in backyards in residential neighborhoods!! When cats show up and kittens are born, that gets attention – and that’s when the SPCA gets calls asking for help. And they get it – we volunteers help trap the cats, take them to the spay/neuter clinic and then give the cats several days post-surgical recovery time – in our own homes. Then we release them back to the person’s backyard, AFTER getting a commitment from the homeowner or tenant to feed and monitor the cats thereafter.

WILDLIFE FEEDING: As we told Smith, most feral cat people do NOT feed wildlife, intentionally or unintentionally. If possible, we feed ferals during the day when raccoons and coyotes and skunks are not around. If that is not possible, we put out food for the cats and wait to ensure that the CATS get the food, not other creatures.

ABANDONMENT: A critic says that after TNR, feral cats are “abandoned” by us feral people. Nothing could be further from the truth. I know many people who have been feeding their colonies for 10, 15 years – day in, day out. If they take a day off, they make sure someone else feeds their colony cats. Many of the colonies have teams of caregivers, thus ensuring that no one person assumes the entire financial and/or physical burden of feeding every day. When we trap in a new location, the first thing we do is make sure that someone in the neighborhood will commit to feeding the cat(s) after TNR. If no one is willing to do that, well, we take on the responsibility of feeding the cats ourselves.

It’s HIGHLY ironic that Yeager accuses other feral people of abandoning cats, because that would APPEAR to be what he did when he moved to Oakland: he gave the San Francisco SPCA little notice that he was going to stop feeding all of his feral colonies, and then he did just that. The feral cat community stepped up to the plate and a group was formed to take responsibility for feeding at every single one of his colonies; they continue to do so, rain or shine.

HUMANE EUTHANASIA: Yeager thinks that feral cat people would have regarded as “heresy” his decision to euthanize a suffering feral cat -- when the exact opposite is true! Neither ACC nor the SPCA would knowingly release a sick or suffering animal, and I do not know a single “feral person” who would allow a cat to suffer – feral or not. As a vegan, I have never and would never let an animal suffer. On the contrary, like most feral feeders, I take sick ferals to my own vet to be treated, and pay the bills out of my own pocket. Last year I trapped five cats who were suffering – three from non-operable skin cancer, one from severe intestinal disease, and one from advanced lymphoma. I took each cat to my vet, where it was humanely euthanized while I held it and talked quietly to it as it passed away.

I DO wonder about the 20 cats Yeager has had killed by a vet. Were those cats suffering? or were they simply cats that he thought didn’t deserve to live because they didn’t have the best possible “quality of life?” What gives him, or PETA, or anyone else, the right to make life or death decisions about healthy feral cats – or any healthy animal, for that matter?

Smith takes great pains to point out that Paula “seems the epitome of normal.” In fact, the “feral people” I know include: an airline pilot, nurses, teachers, librarians, restaurant and office and bank managers, legal secretaries, bartenders, students, senior citizens, sales reps, policewomen – we are, in fact, “the epitome of normal”.

As for the “bird lovers v. cat lovers” enmity that Smith is trying so hard to encourage, I am not even going to bother responding, because people who have commented online have done an excellent job of putting into doubt or quite simply debunking the “scientific” studies Smith quotes. As a vegan, I respect the lives of ALL sentient creatures, whether they be cats, birds, squirrels or ants; I am also a lifelong environmentalist, and I see no contradiction in that. I had suggested that Smith look into Project Bay Cat, just one example of a successful collaboration between “cat people” and “bird people” (supported by Homeless Cat Network, the City of Foster City and Sequoia Audubon Society), which was established to humanely deal with feral cats while at the same time protecting native birds. He obviously never bothered to do that – and in reading the article, it’s very clear why he didn’t. He simply wasn’t interested in a solution that works!

Of course, the beauty of being a "feral person" and participating in TNR is that you spend a considerable amount of scheduled time outdoors observing the seasons and patterns of all the animals particular to an area. On the other hand, the quoted local “environmentalists” seem to spend most of their time at desks, comparing notes!

Just a note on genderism: it's curious that Smith comments (inaccurately) on Paula's clothing, and mine, while nothing is said about the age or appearance or clothing of any of the men interviewed -- I really thought we had moved past all that! (By the way, I don't own or wear "sweats" -- but it's true, I don't wear formal attire to go trapping!)

The articles implies that we who do TNR are the problem – on the contrary, we’re the SOLUTION (as opposed to the people who simply FEED feral cats without doing TNR, who are contributing to the problem). It’s a win-win situation: we do the work, and S.F. residents get a stable colony of fixed, healthy cats; zero population growth; few or no resident rodents; and a quieter neighborhood. No TNR = population explosion!

I also want to point out that Paula and I, along with 99% of “feral people,” would much rather be doing other things than trapping – in my case, I’d LOVE to have more time to walk in the park, read, go to more movies, hang out with friends, and spend more time at home with my husband and our two cats. So if you’re going to tell us to “get a life,” well – guess what – we’d love to! Instead, day in, day out, we’re out there feeding, trapping or planning our next trapping expedition! Why?? Well, who else is going to do it? YOU? Great!! – please contact the SPCA Feral Cat program, because the cats can sure use your help!

In closing, a quote from a Golden Gate Park gardener: “The cats didn't bother with the birds but kept down the rodent population which actually did more harm to the quail.” Amazing, but true, and confirmed by what I saw while walking in Golden Gate Park on a sunny day: several feet off the trail, a very contented, well-fed cat, very clearly ear-tipped and thus TNR’d, lay in the sun; a few feet away several quail pecked around in the dirt. Neither showed the slightest interest in or fear of the other. Would that we could all get along so well.

Nadine May

Paula Kotakis
Paula Kotakis

We showed Matt Smith two of my feeding stations located in industrial zones (and approved by the property owners) that I custom built in order to prevent raccoons from getting the food. Cats can enter through smallish holes cut in the sides, but raccoons can't fit through them. I assume he didn't want to include mention of these structures because it would have contradicted his misleading "Feeding raccoons and skunks, it appears, makes up a notable part of a TNR practitioner's work." Poppycock, Matt Smith!

--Paula Kotakis

Victor
Victor

To sue, cats do count in the scheme of life, but domestic cats are an exotic predator in an ecosystem that they do not belong. Bird and small mammal populations have enough to deal with in the form of habitat loss and fragmentation. 60 million feral cats is just an unnecessary burden on many endangered species of birds. Euthanasia may not be pleasant, but it is the cheapest and most responsible method to deal with the problem... because don't you think the money spent spaying, neutering, and providing supplemental feeding to feral cats is better spent on other problems?

David
David

Victor,

I am truly sick of and enraged by comments such as yours in terms of their misappropriation of terms like "exotic" and "non-native." It would be nice if you and others like you would simply admit that you're grasping at the latest intellectual fad as a cheap justification for your real agenda: attempting to force the natural world to conform to your own sentimental concept of what it should be.

Fact: the history of life on this planet is a history of change. Innumerable species have ended up in places where they did not originally evolve. It's been good for some, bad for others. Human concepts of "fairness" referenced by your comment about "unnecessary burdens" are foreign to the ways in which the natural world works. They don't apply. Nature doesn't care whether you like this or not. Nature doesn't care if a species has "had enough to deal with."

Fact: cats have been in North America for at least 400 years.

Fact: a non-sentimental evolutionary biologist will tell you that predation, in the end, makes the prey species stronger and smarter. And if one species goes extinct, another generally comes along to fill the niche. That's not good or bad; it just is.

And who are you to dictate what forms of life on this planet are more valuable than others? Who are you to say where a form of life does or does not belong? The sheer arrogance involved in making the sort of statements that you and others like you make deserved to be spotlighted and exposed for what it is.

But I'm sure that you'll persist in your fantasy of thinking that you should be the one in charge -- at least until the next big earthquake, tsunami, tornado, or hurricane comes along to show you precisely how irrelevant your desire is for the natural order to conform to your wishes.

Michael Hardesty
Michael Hardesty

No, spending money on cats is the best possible use of our money. There are literally hundreds of millions, if not billions of birds and the larger ones are predators both to other birds and other animals. Feeding and fixing cats is the second best solution, the first is finding good homes for cats. Killing them is not a solution.

Eli
Eli

rat and mice supporter. Spread the the diease word

Briansays
Briansays

far bigger problemferal humans

Sue
Sue

Most of the feral cats that my husband feeds are actually abandoned cats who have never been spayed or neutered. He spends time & money to do TNR and these cats become loving,neutered, beautiful animals. Because these cats are abandoned by irresponsible people then we should just euthanize them because they may kill a bird or two? Even a true feral cat can lead a halfway decent life because of all of the volunteers doing TNR. Because these people care about cats they are considered "wackos"? Shame on you environmentalists. Cats count also in the scheme of life.

Sf_deb
Sf_deb

Oh, for heaven's sake, I do wish Matt Smith would get a grip and get a clue and try for some actual, you know, journalistic balance. Of course, the pure one-sided bigotry on the cover alone pretty much sums up why neither Smith nor this publication can be taken seriously.

We've been part of TNR programs in two counties for over twelve years. Read my lips, darlings: a feral cat that is being fed regularly is much less inclined to hunt. Hunting requires energy and puts the hunter at risk. If your belly is full, do you run out looking for food you have to chase down? Of course you don't.

Point: NEITHER DO CATS.

I realise that won't carry any weight with the irrational cat-haters out there, but that's fine, because this isn't debatable. Animals who don't have to hunt for their supper generally don't. We've watched the park cats and the local mouse population eating from the same pile. And yes, I said "watched". We're actually out there, every night.

It would be nice if some of the people bleating about the terrible evil cats eating all the pretty birds would actually get off their bottoms and try being part of some of the programs they're dissing. Because until they do, they have zero cred.

And that's me, with a dozen years of cred on the subject thanks to working in those particular trenches, rolling my eyes and letting my friends know that SF Weekly, and Matt Smith, aren't worth their time.

pacocornholio
pacocornholio

Good article. Are there more cat ladies than bird lovers, or does the Audubon Society just have larger, er, fish to fry?

MillionTrees
MillionTrees

Those who advocate for killing cats engage in hyperbole and fabrication of "facts." Another example is a recent “study” by the University of Nebraska which concludes that feral cats kill $17 Billion worth of birds annually. A local native plant advocate uncritically repeated this ridiculous figure in his “nature newsletter.”

Matt Smith has been allied with the local native plant movement for over 10 years. He writes vicious attacks on any criticism of their destructive projects at every opportunity. In this article he engages in character assasination of the cat caregiver, than contradicts himself at the end of a 10-page article by acknowledging that the caregiver has, in fact, managed to nearly eliminate a population of cats in GG Park. We have analyzed the University of Nebraska "study": http://milliontrees.wordpress....

Here’s a brief quote from our post which is focused on the Nebraska study’s estimate of birds killed by feral cats:“[The Nebraska study claims that] Feral cats kill an estimated 480 million birds per year, based on an assumption that there are 60 million feral cats and that each cat is estimated to kill 8 birds per year. [This} estimate of the number of birds each feral cat kills is based on one study done in Australia in 1996. As native plant advocates are quick to tell you when they are advocating for the destruction of eucalyptus (which are native to Australia), Australia is a very different place. Many questions would have to be asked and answered before we could assume that feral cats kill the same number of birds in Australia and the US. For example: (1) Is the ratio of birds to cats the same in Australia and the US? (2) Are there the same percentages of ground-dwelling and nesting birds in both countries? (3) Are there similar quantities of alternate food sources available to cats in both countries? Etc. In fact, since the answers to these questions also vary within the US, we don’t think it is justifiable to use the same “bird-kill-rates” for all locations within the US, let alone from another country.”

Our post also analyzes other aspects of the Nebraska study, including the qualifications of its authors. We conclude that the study is not based on science, but is rather a rhetorical tool used to justify the killing of cats, much like Mr. Smith's nasty article.

Bea Hatch
Bea Hatch

The only thing worse than flea bag feral cats are the maladjusted wackos that "care" for them. Cat people? yuck!

quest
quest

And worse than that, are people like you. No telling what you do................

Flemingrandolph
Flemingrandolph

"Wha!.. Woo , hoo , hoo... Blah , woo , woo , bluh , bluh , blah! grindl." ...Crazy Cat Lady ; the Simpsons

Owen Murphy
Owen Murphy

Once again blaming the cats, how small of you Matt Smith. I grew up with dogs and birds now have cats. The first 2 I got when they were 9- because the owner could not care for them. Had they been dumpted- I doubt they would have had any idea how to survive because they were so domesticated. The one I have now I got from a shelter. She was there because the owners were having a baby and did not want her anymore. She was only 6 mos. She was ear mite and flea infested when they brought her in. But at least they did- instead of dumping the cats that I've adopted the owners did the smart thing. Or they would have been dumped- not survived or in the case of the kitten become feral and reproduced. Why doesn't Matt Smith spend some time researching the people that dump the cats in the first place- the ones that decide not to spay or neuter them or bring them to a shelter?There is no way to track how many birds are killed by cats- or know how many feral cats there are. Birds die for many reasons- mostly to do with what we are doing-they die from pesticides including the rat poison put out, and are also killed by other preditory birds- not just because there are feral cats trying to survive.I thank all the feral cats that come into the abandoned empty lot next to my apartment-outside of my bedroom window- at night that do help to keep the rat and mouse population down-

And I thank all of these people that put the time and effort into trying to solve this problem- instead of just blaming them- jerk.

Victor
Victor

There are ways to know hoe many cats there are. Look up Capture-Mark-Recapture surveys. Also, the rat and mouse populations 1) held support native animals, and 2) could be kept from being artificially high with better sanitation

Bea Hatch
Bea Hatch

Cats don't have to kill birds. They just have to scare them enough to keep them form nesting. Cats are biologically programmed to stalk and kill. Therefore they are inherently harmful to wild life.

Goobbue
Goobbue

Bea, that's one of the dumbest things I've ever read in my life.

MillionTrees
MillionTrees

We have also analyzed a recent “study” by the University of Nebraska which concludes that feral cats kill $17 Billion worth of birds annually. We were inspired to publish this critique after a local native plant advocate uncritically repeated this ridiculous figure in his “nature newsletter.” Matt Smith has been allied with the local native plant movement for over 10 years. He writes vicious attacks on any criticism of their destructive projects at every opportunity. Please visit our post: http://milliontrees.wordpress....Here’s a brief quote from our post which is focused on the Nebraska study’s estimate of birds killed by feral cats:“[The Nebraska study claims that] Feral cats kill an estimated 480 million birds per year, based on an assumption that there are 60 million feral cats and that each cat is estimated to kill 8 birds per year. [This} estimate of the number of birds each feral cat kills is based on one study done in Australia in 1996. As native plant advocates are quick to tell you when they are advocating for the destruction of eucalyptus (which are native to Australia), Australia is a very different place. Many questions would have to be asked and answered before we could assume that feral cats kill the same number of birds in Australia and the US. For example: (1) Is the ratio of birds to cats the same in Australia and the US? (2) Are there the same percentages of ground-dwelling and nesting birds in both countries? (3) Are there similar quantities of alternate food sources available to cats in both countries? Etc. In fact, since the answers to these questions also vary within the US, we don’t think it is justifiable to use the same “bird-kill-rates” for all locations within the US, let alone from another country.”

Our post also analyzes other aspects of the Nebraska study, including the qualifications of its authors. We conclude that the study is not based on science, but is rather a rhetorical tool used to justify the killing of cats.

h. brown
h. brown

Anne,

Smith was the best writer in town. I read every writer in town so I know (I'm a retired teacher of English). Now, (scared for his job I'd guess - the Guardian has 2 more printed pages on the street in each of the last 2 weeks) ... now, Matt seeks to inflate his readership with stories such as this.

It really is that simple. Matt's always been a weird bird at best and a barely contained nut job at worst.

Giants lose first one outta gate ... Belt was awesome!

h.

Protonix
Protonix

I have a solution for the overgrowing cat population. Lets catch them and move them to South Korea. There are plenty of people who would love to eat them, me being one of them. There good on a stick with a side of BBQ sauce!

quest
quest

Your truly sick. You know what they say about people that do not care for animals.......

Paula Kotakis
Paula Kotakis

<>

I derive much joy from caring for feral cat populations and reducing their numbers through humane TNR. For those of us with OCD, joy is not a part of the experience of the disorder. What I described to Matt Smith one night while trapping were my weather-specific harm obsessions, which have almost no bearing on my TNR work. It is truly unfortunate that he confused these unwanted obsessions with the deliberate, satisfying, and important work so many of us are involved in within the TNR community.

Human negligence (abandoning cats, failing to spay/neuter them) is the cause of suffering and overpopulation; we in the TNR community help to improve the lives of cats. We come from all walks of life, and yes, some of us have OCD or other medical disorders. It's too bad Matt Smith had to put his own spin as to my motives for wanting to care for feral cats.

--Paula Kotakis

Catlady on Peninsula
Catlady on Peninsula

Wow -- what a biased, controversial article. I wonder if Ms. Kotakis and her friend knew that Matt Smith was going to do a hatchet job on them and what they do when they so graciously took him around with them - I would guess not. So how did you present yourself to them, Matt Smith? I too doubt that many people are going to focus on your comment at the end of the article that TNR does work - I'm sure you made certain they would come away with the opinion you wanted them to have - crazy cat people are harming the world and the cats they are trying to help. TNR does work --there are many statistics to prove that if you'd care to look for them. And I too am a cat lady who does TNR but I DON'T have OCD or any disease - I do it because I love the cats and what our world does to ALL of the animals in it sickens me. What I wonder is, why don't these people (like Matt Smith) ever try going up against the big developers who develop land that destroys more bird habitat than any feral cat could eat in a lifetime? The reason, my guess would be, is that developers have lots of money and power and can fight back -- not so much us cat lovers who are trying to humanely fix a problem that WE (society) have caused. Shame on you Matt Smith - unfortunately I doubt you have the ability to see yourself and what you've done clearly. By the way, there is word for people like Yeager also -- killers. Hopefully your "friend" Matt Smith has alerted Oakland and they will find you.

L-Danyielle
L-Danyielle

Matt Smith came to the feral cat caretakers saying a positive article would be written. So frustrating that these writers cannot ever be trusted. Your comment is 100% correct on the facts. TNR is scientifically proven and the only humane solution to a feral cat overpopulation. Thanks.

Bill Hamilton
Bill Hamilton

The article’s main shortcoming is that criticism of TNR was easily accepted, but there was no questioning or challenge to the misinformation presented by the anti-TNR groups. Peter Wolf, a research scientist of Vox Felina blog, debunks a lot of the misinformation about cats killing birds. A link for him is http://www.voxfelina.com/2010/... To address some of the misinformation in this article:

People who do TNR work are both environmentalists and wildlife advocates. The article speaks as though anti-TNR contingents are the only environmentalists and wildlife advocates, which is simply not true. We don’t see animal welfare ethics and classic environmental ethics as exclusive of one another. The idea that cats are the main killer of birds is nonsense. Besides many other potential predators in the environment, Humans are the main cause because of our destruction of habitat, pesticides, tall buildings, etc., etc., etc. Quail populations have declined mainly because of habitat destruction and predation from other animals, not cats, in San Francisco parks. Feral cats are not responsible for the decline in the sea otter population. It is now believed that toxoplasmosis isn’t an issue in the cause of their decline. Feral cats are not disease spreaders. It’s scientifically proven that feral cats carry no more disease then indoor cats. The feral cat colonies are fed and monitored seven days a week. When the cats are sick it is typical for a caretaker to take them to a veterinarian for treatment. Stereotypes presented by anti-TNR people are like broken records. They have no solution, except killing, which solves nothing in the long run. Any solution must be humane and not just killing as they espouse.

TNR is scientifically proven, humane and effective. Stating that the main function of TNR is to feed cats is preposterous. The main function is to reduce the cat population in a humane and responsible manner. In San Francisco many colonies have been reduced to zero because of TNR. Throughout Golden Gate Park the feral cat population has been reduced by over 95%.

The vacuum effect is presented inaccurately in this article. This effect is well known in the wildlife community, not just with feral cat advocates. When animals are removed from a territory others that they kept out can then move in. Breeding starts again; removal has solved nothing. Also the vacuum effect has nothing to do with leaving food. If there are no cats, food is not left.

J.R. Yeager continues to this day to have no credibility. Yeager abandoned at least 10 colonies in San Francisco. The SF/SPCA stepped in, as they always do, and found caretakers for all of these cats. Yeager was asked to leave the SF/SPCA’s program. His uncompromising belief that killing cats made their lives better was intolerable.

Abandonment of feral cat colonies by their caretakers is rare. If it happens others step up to help. There are many tireless feral cat caretakers all over the world.

Thanks to feral cat advocates like Paula Kotakis and many others the feral cat population in San Francisco is being humanely and successfully reduced.

L-Danyielle Yacobucci and Martha Hoffman

 
©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...