Animal-welfare activists have requested that the address be withheld; they say that revealing the location of a colony encourages people to dump unwanted cats there.
But people do know about feeding stations and colonies. This allows them to dump their cats knowing that the "crazy cat lady" will take care of it. It also means the punks know where to get cats for their perversions.
Working with RMACA, Des Marais and other volunteers are trying to reduce the kill rate by trapping ferals, spaying or neutering them, then returning them — in effect, transforming the entire colony from feral to sterile so that it will eventually die out on its own. But trap-neuter-return, or TNR, is a controversial solution, often unpopular with communities afflicted by the colonies.
Great in theory, doesn't work that way in real life. When will occur to these people that if they put food out there, cats will come? There will always be new ones. The perfect example of this was the Los Alamitos colony in LA that was 45 years old!!!! There recently was controversy because the cats were causing problems at a nearby day care center. Children were becoming sick from allergies to parasites. And it was traced back to the cats. So, to keep the Whinonettes off their backs, the city tried to work with the TNR people. When they started the count was 130 cats, a year later the count was 200. It never ends.
That appears to be the case at this apartment complex. Des Marais tracks down the tenant who invited her here, a man named Santos. He says things are getting worse by the day. He caught a neighbor shooting at the cats with a BB gun and asked him to stop.
"He said, 'Those aren't your cats,'" Santos recalls. "He told me to mind my own business."
Another tenant saw a coyote eating a cat. Cats have been found with their entrails hanging out. One was decapitated. Santos doesn't think all the mutilations are the work of coyotes. "People can be cruel," he says.
What an understatement, people can be cruel!!! I have seen worse than this in colonies. It changed my mind rather quickly that TNR is actually the ultimate cruelty. Where is a concern for quality of life?
Another myth about cats being territorial is that they will keep other cats from coming into their colony. THAT IS NOT TRUE, particularly when cats are altered. They do not sit at the feed station protecting it. That's why colonies never go away and TNR lies about this aspect. Now this conflicts with the Whino because he is now saying to relocate them. Who's right?
"Even people in the animal-welfare community think tame cats are one issue and feral cats are another, and they're not," she says. "Everything is connected. Tame is one end of the spectrum, feral is the other. But there's all sorts of shades of gray in between."
And who makes the decision as to whether a cat is truly feral or another domestic gone wild? Too many times I have seen a cat classified as feral come out of a trap friendly. Too many times I have seen cats in colonies who would greet you, rub against your leg, and want to leave with you. Those aren't feral, they shouldn't be left in those colonies. Think about this, imagine a kitten trying to survive outside long enough to become "feral". Yeah, right.
The effort to establish a grassroots TNR program in the city is enthusiastically endorsed by Doug Kelley, director of Denver's Municipal Animal Shelter. As an "open admission" operation, the shelter takes in every type of stray or homeless pet. Cats labeled as feral will be euthanized — but not before they've already taken up space and expense in feline housing that often operates near capacity.
Of course he supports it but not for the reasons you think. Otherwise all those cats would end up in the shelters and screw with the euthanasia numbers. Let the other fools pay for it, keep the cats out, and he looks more like hero.
Many of the volunteers in the TNR movement are violating the city's five-pet limit by virtue of the number of cats and kittens they are in the process of rescuing, fostering or otherwise housing; putting out food for a colony can result in further violations. Consequently, many feral-cat people tend to operate furtively, setting up feeding stations in alleys and hiding their work from the neighbors and animal-control officers. "We need an exemption for ferals," says Angelilli, who's been meeting with city councilmembers over proposed changes in local ordinances.
Wait a minute, the reason for the problem is too many cats per household, people being allowed to have that many and no licensing, no responsibility. And what about those who don't want the colonies around them for various reasons, medical, etc? We don't let dogs run around in colonies, why make exceptions for cats? That is not fair.
Kelley would rather not see his office embroiled in neighborhood complaints about feral cats, but they keep coming. "If somebody really pushes, then we have to take some sort of action, and we'll contact Neighborhood Inspection Services," he says of the city agency that handles such matters. "It's a fine line between being a responsible person who helps take care of a colony and being a hoarder. We've certainly been on properties where well-meaning people have a hundred-plus cats. Then it becomes a health and safety issue."
Ah, now we are getting to the gist of it. I do believe that much of the TNR movement is nothing more than giving hoarders a way out. I think of it as a type of hoarding. Letting the great outdoor be your kennel.
"Sometimes it's hard to tell a feral cat from one that's very unsocialized or one that's just nasty," Kelley explains. "What we're calling feral cats aren't always feral cats."
And that is the moral and ethical side of the issue. As I said imagine a kitten outside surviving on it's own long enough to become truly feral.
"We have people who are considered caretakers, who are feeding the cats but not fixing them," Aubart says. "They get overwhelmed, and they have to choose between feeding and fixing. They choose feeding, of course. But all that does is make it so that you have to feed more."
Thus, the biggest problem of TNR. And if you provide food, then they will reproduce.
No, I don't want them killed. I want them fixed. I want these types of people to put ALL their efforts behind spay/neuter. I want these people to realize that they really aren't doing these cats a big favor, they are just prolonging the suffering. I want these people to realize that they are putting owned cats in danger, they cross streets, etc. coming to a food station. Not all the cats in a colony were dumped, the food and the colony attract cats that have a home. There needs to be regulations, policies, oversight for these TNR colonies to make sure they do what they intend to do.