Published in Letters to the Editor on The Washington Post, May 25, 2016.
In his May 12 Animal Doctor column, “An open letter to the American Bird Conservancy,” Michael W. Fox advocated for killing cats, which he called a “responsible” solution.
That’s right, Mr. Fox thinks we should reevaluate no-kill policies. And he is out of step with society on this. More than 80 percent of Americans think that leaving a stray cat outside to live his life is more humane than having the cat caught and killed, according to a survey by Harris Interactive.
Mr. Fox also suggested rounding up cats into what he calls “sanctuaries.” Sanctuaries can cost $3,000 per cat. Cats stacked in cramped spaces suffer from disease and mental anguish. Sanctuaries are expensive and cruel.
His portrayal of the situation at New York’s Jones Beach State Park also overlooked facts. In the past 15 years, the piping plover bird population at Jones Beach has doubled, even while living alongside cats there. Good park management and an excellent trap-neuter-return program deserve the credit.
Cats have lived outside, near humans and other animals, for thousands of years, and multiple scientific studies show it’s healthy for them to do so. It is time for responsible solutions. Killing cats isn’t one of them.