This Letter to the Editor was published in Capitol Gazette (Annapolis, MD) on February 19, 2017.
Opponents of trap-neuter-return like Barbara Johnson (The Capital, Dec. 12) have no better options. Rounding up stray cats and killing them has been a disastrous failure. Each year millions are killed and we still face the same issues. Catch-and-kill wastes huge sums of tax money with nothing to show for it. Killing stray cats is an old idea. It hasn’t worked.
More importantly, Americans reject it. More than 80 percent prefer to leave stray cats outside rather than have them killed.
Trap-neuter-return, on the other hand, has been proven to manage outdoor cat populations well. One of the peer-reviewed studies on the topic showed that TNR decreased the unowned, community cat population by 66 percent on a Florida college campus. Other studies demonstrate TNR’s positive impact on stray cat behavior, which translates to fewer calls about alley cats to animal control departments that are already stretched thin.
Johnson also refers to faulty science about the relationship between cats and birds. The study she cites used a sample size of just 69 birds, only six of which were observed being killed by cats. You don’t have to be a statistician to see that making a leap from six birds killed in the study to a claim of 4 billion birds killed nationwide doesn’t compute.
Here again is some truth: Scientists agree that habitat loss, climate change and pollution are the top threats to wildlife. Any serious conversations should start there, not by making the argument to kill millions more cats.
Alley Cat Allies