June is American Humane Association's Adopt-A-Cat Month, and Steve Dale uses this time to address the issue of feline overpopulation:
Chicago Tribune - There's no question that Americans love pets. Most homes have a pet, including about 40 million homes with at least one cat, adding up to over 86 million pet cats, according to the American Pet Products Association.
Despite all that, estimates are that every minute, approximately four cats are euthanized in U.S. shelters. It's tragic and shameful because the majority of these pets are adoptable.
In fact, feline overpopulation is a serious problem.
There's only one way to solve the problem: Reduce the numbers of pets coming into shelters in the first place. So, how do we impact cat overpopulation? Here are three steps I believe can change the equation:
1. Indoors Only: If "indoors only" really became the mantra for pet cats, spay/neuter compliance would increase. One added benefit is that life indoors is safer, and as a consequence cats live longer, healthier lives.
2. Bad Kitty: When family members get frustrated and fed up with a cat eliminating outside the litter box, scratching the sofa, or yowling overnight, the human/animal bond fractures, landing the pet in the local animal shelter. Encouraging owners to get qualified help before behavior problems become overwhelming is key.
3. Trap, Neuter, Return is a part of the solution. TNR programs utilize community volunteers who humanely trap feral cats, have them spay/neutered and vaccinated for rabies before releasing back to their colonies. Some shelters still use their precious resources attempting to socialize and adopt out feral cats. Instead, I argue, overall, that most feral cats are more content living in their colonies, letting shelters focus on other, more adoptable cats.
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Written by Steve Dale