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Some cats must be euthanized | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
To the editor:
A recent letter to the editor described a personal story of rescuing a cat named Silky from a feral colony and giving him a loving home. The people who took him in described a compassionate veterinarian, Dr. Eric Patrin, who cared for their cat in his illness and final days at their home. I commend the kindness and perseverance of the couple who took in Silky.
But I was disturbed by a reference in the letter to what the writer called “anti-cat police” who might want to euthanize such feral cats. I love cats as well as dogs and have a high opinion of Dr. Patrin as well, who is also our veterinarian, but I see the situation with feral cats differently.
Our cat was adopted as an adult from WAIF and lives a happy indoor life. Although we think she lived outdoors at least in part before, she has adjusted well to living totally indoors.
The problem with having cats roam outdoors or live in feral colonies is that wild animals, especially birds, are negatively impacted. The cats that are outdoors are also subject to risk of attack by dogs, coyotes, owls, etc., injury from cars and disease can spread quickly. The programs that capture, neuter and release cats do not avoid these problems.
The truly humane thing to do is sometimes to shelter unwanted cats with the intent to find them homes, but in some cases to euthanize when there is no hope of finding a home or the cat cannot be socialized. Here is a site that summarizes information about this matter, from the American Bird Conservancy, www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/cats/index.html.
Quoting from this source: “Exact numbers are unknown, but scientists estimate that every year in the United States alone, cats kill hundreds of millions of birds, and more than a billion small mammals, including rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks.” This website also has information about the “Cats Indoors! Campaign for Safer Birds and Cats.”