Dear Editor,

I’ve been taken aback by some heartless and uninformed comments appearing in some of our local newspapers. An individual is calling for all cats that are living in cat colonies, to be forcibly taken from their caregivers and killed. Many citizens deem this recommendation as cruel, inhumane and merciless.

A person is entitled to their opinion, however, they’re not entitled to make up facts and spew misinformation, in support of such bloodshed. It’s alarming that someone who appears to be an intelligent individual can be of such a hateful persuasion. Particularly, when the callousness is directed at innocent creatures, whom through no fault of their own have been abused, mistreated and discarded as trash.

The provocative comments set forth by this person resonate with other hardened and insensitive human beings, who enthusiastically advocate killing all cats being supervised and cared for in the wild.

Caregivers diligently supervising their cat colonies, should not have their animals violently removed and slaughtered; simply to satisfy the misguided notions of nescient and insensitive mindsets. Especially, when such actions are not warranted, as there are humanely practical alternatives available and working in many thousands of communities throughout the United States.

Scientific evidence indicates that outdoor cats can live a happy, contented and disease free existence. They do not pose a health risk to other cats or human beings. According to the ‘Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery’: “Feral cats live full healthy lives outdoors–there is no reason for them to be killed in shelters”. Research in this renowned journal further reveals: “That of 103,643 stray and feral cats examined in spay/neuter clinics in six states from 1993 to 2004, less than 1% of those cats needed to be euthanized due to debilitating conditions, trauma or infectious diseases”.

I too believe it’s preferable for cats to live indoors with their owners. However, the world isn’t always kind, pretty, neat and proper. Many of these animals were found beaten and bloodied in trash cans and dumpsters where they were left to die. Their anguishing cries alerted passerby’s to their presence. After being medically attended to these creatures were turned over to the supervisor of a cat colony, rather than being handed over to a shelter to be exterminated. Instead of being killed, these animals were granted a reprieve and provided with a lovingly cared for life.

Promoting the destruction of these creatures based upon ignorance, deceptions and falsehoods; is not the mark of a civilized society.

Studies conducted by Dr. Julie Levy at the University of Florida, which followed long-term Trap-Neuter-Release programs, found that the population of felines living within a supervised cat colony declined by 66% over 10 years. After living a full and complete life, these animals were allowed to die of natural causes, under the care of individuals that loved them.

These cat colonies are provided with food, clean water and affection each day by their caregivers. All of their cats are spayed and neutered. These caregivers pay all of the medical care and treatment costs associated with each animal.

Trap-Neuter-Release programs have nationally been instituted and accepted as a widespread life-saving practice; supported by the ASPCA and over 250 nonprofit organizations dedicated to abandoned cats.

Miami-Dade County has enacted an extremely effective Trap-Neuter-Release program. Their humane and compassionate model has significantly reduced the number of discarded cats in a cost-effective manner, while here in the Keys we spend on average nearly $4,000 to catch and kill one stray cat.

Traumatizing and killing innocent creatures, without cause, other than to appease one’s misplaced biases and prejudices, represents a degree of violence and savagery not associated with an educated and enlightened people.

Jessie Davis
Key Largo

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