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Letters to the Editor

Manage cat colonies

| Monday, March 30, 2015, 9:00 p.m.

Does eradicating a managed homeless cat colony make sense? Occasionally, an Alle-Kiski Valley municipality's governing body will consider eradicating a managed colony of homeless cats within its jurisdiction. To do so is both inhumane and a poor use of taxpayer money.

Managed colonies are tended by volunteers who practice “TNR,” a trap/neuter/release strategy for cat population control. These colonies house a stable number of infertile cats — a proven method for humane management. (See alleycatallies.org). Homeless cats are protected by Pennsylvania's anti-cruelty laws. These cats, not sociable enough to be adopted into homes, get euthanized if brought to shelters.

Relocating or killing provides a very short-term reduction in numbers of cats. Because the population in a territory is constrained by available shelter, food and water, removing them causes a “cat vacuum effect.” The open territory attracts roaming cats more likely to breed, fight, yowl, spray-mark urine, roam and generate many litters of kittens. The newcomers become more of a nuisance than the original managed colony of sterilized, rabies-vaccinated, fed and healthy cats.

TNR-managed homeless cats live lives as healthful as those of outdoor-going family pets. If left alone, they can coexist peacefully with townspeople and their pets. Governmental authorities in all A-K municipalities should listen to reason and not undertake programs to eradicate TNR-managed colonies of cats.

These eradication programs are simply unkind and necessitate costly repetition in the long run.

Mary L.

Dzvonik-Olson

Leechburg

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