This letter to the editor was originally published on August 19, 2019 in The Citizen’s Voice of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Editor: A recent letter to The Citizens’ Voice included falsehoods about cats that must be corrected to ensure Wilkes-Barre is basing its policies on facts, not scare tactics (July 27).

The millions of cats in our homes and in our neighborhoods are not a public health threat. There has not been a confirmed case of cat-to-human rabies transmission in the U.S. in more than 40 years. On top of that, most cases of toxoplasmosis stem from undercooked food, not cats. It’s extremely rare for anyone to catch toxoplasmosis from a cat, especially a community cat who avoids any contact with people. Simply put, these issues do not constitute public health threats.

Some people mistakenly refer to community cats as “homeless” pets. It’s often forgotten that cats lived exclusively outside for thousands of years until kitty litter was invented in the 1940s. Community cats are not “homeless.” They make their homes in the outdoors today just as they always have.

Remember that when you hear arguments to place cats in shelters, because an unpleasant truth is hidden there. Since community cats are not socialized to people, they are also unadoptable in shelters. That’s why virtually every community cat who enters a shelter will be killed unless there is a nonlethal program to sterilize and vaccinate them so they can live out their lives.

Surely the people of Wilkes-Barre do not want to be known for killing thousands of cats each year. Especially when places like the city of Philadelphia, Abington Twp. and Annville Twp. are using more humane and life-saving approaches. Alley Cat Allies is as eager as ever to work with Wilkes-Barre’s leadership to implement policies that are not only good for the cats who live here, but in the best interests of the people who live here, too.

Becky Robinson

President and Founder

Alley Cat Allies