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Letter: A ‘different perspective’ on feral cats

By Kelly Rush, Mower County Humane Society, Austin Scott Rall's March 31 column regarding "invasive species" was forwarded to me, and I would like to comment on it and offer a different perspective on the issue of feral cats. Rather than comment ...

By Kelly Rush, Mower County Humane Society, Austin

Scott Rall’s March 31 column regarding “invasive species” was forwarded to me, and I would like to comment on it and offer a different perspective on the issue of feral cats.

 

Rather than comment on several erroneous statements made by Mr. Rall, I would like to tell the Worthington-area community what is working in Mower County. In 2006, the Mower County Humane Society (MCHS) conducted its first feline low-cost spay/neuter clinic. Our goal was to spay/neuter 50 cats in our

area. We accepted house pets, barn cats and feral cats.

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The clinic was a success, and the public wanted more opportunities to control the growth of unwanted cats in their neighborhoods and on farms. Today, we sponsor seven low-cost spay/neuter clinics.  One, done with the Austin Vet Clinic, spays/neuters 200 cats every spring. We also work with MNSNAP (a non-profit group that travels throughout Minnesota doing low-cost spays/neuters on both cats and dogs) six times per year. MCHS works with the citizens of Mower County to actively trap/neuter/release feral cats.

 

This proactive approach has resulted in a dramatic drop of unwanted felines in our community. Both the MCHS shelter and the local city pound have seen a drop in calls about unwanted cats. The difference between our approach and Mr. Rall’s is that we are humanely controlling the number of feral felines.

 

Feral cats DO have a place in our society. They control rat and mouse populations - without the use of poisons - and they cost nothing when compared to other pest control methods. Farms in Minnesota actively use feral (I prefer “working” as a description) cats to control pest populations. On a larger scale, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Chicago are just a few cities where TNR (trap/neuter/release) is successfully done to control feline and pest populations.

 

Mr. Rall, humans create the feral cat communities with the release of unspayed/unneutered felines. As with many issues society is now facing because of former actions (perhaps you would like to address the house

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sparrow issue in another column?), it is now up to us to fix it. I for one prefer to humanely control the feral cat population through education, spaying and neutering.

 

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