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Press Release

For Immediate Release: May 29, 2012
Contact: CARLA DAVIS, or (240) 482-3887; FRANCIE ISRAELI, or (202) 207-1134

Urges officials to control the source of the disease, fleas, by helping residents treat pets

BETHESDA, MD— Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, today urged public health workers in Santa Ana, Calif., to stop trapping and killing cats in a misguided effort to eradicate flea-born typhus.

“This trapping ignores the basic scientific fact that typhus is not spread by cats—it is caused by a bacteria spread by fleas. Killing cats is cruel and is not a solution,” said Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies.

Epidemiologist Deborah L. Ackerman, M.S., Ph.D., notes that fleas are versatile parasites and will simply find another host, as dogs, raccoons, opossums, mice and all mammals as well as birds are potential hosts for fleas. Outbreaks of the disease are rare. In previous outbreaks in California, infected fleas have been found on pet cats. In Texas, in another endemic area, officials have found dogs with infected fleas.

Alley Cat Allies advises officials in Santa Ana to follow the example of other areas with typhus cases by focusing their efforts on controlling the source of typhus—fleas. Less than 50 miles north, Los Angeles County advises treating pets for fleas and using humane outdoor cat deterrents to control flea infestations. Instead of killing feral cats, who avoid people by nature, the organization urged Santa Ana officials to provide community resources for residents to treat and protect their pets, whom they come in contact with every day.

“Feral cats aren’t the problem, but they are paying for it with their lives. This trapping and killing will not protect the public and it has to stop immediately,” said Robinson.


About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than 260,000 supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens nationwide. Their web site is