According to a recent press release by the ABC, President George Fenwick says that feeding stations artificially concentrate animals, which increases the risks of disease transmission. George Fenwick said, “feral cat colonies present an ongoing hazard to human health in communities where they are established as well as birds and other native wildlife.” The Wildlife Society Blog also adds that rabies is not the only disease potentially transmittable to humans–there’s also toxoplasmosis, cat scratch fever, and a variety of other maladies.
The Wildlife Society Blog also says, “If TNR advocates aren’t concerned about the future of our native wildlife, then perhaps human health concerns will get their attention–especially when feral cat colony managers themselves start getting bitten.” The writer goes on to say that us cat activists “reject science and conservation in [our] short-sighted focus on the ‘rights’ of individual cats…”
The ABC constantly tries to convince the public and the government that because cats kill birds, we should kill cats. They also insist that cats are “disease carriers,” providing another reason why we should kill them. Obviously these statements are incorrect, so I will be preaching to the choir, but I will anyway. I will start off by commenting on this last sentence that cat activists “reject science and conservation.” We only reject science when it is “fake” and when wildlife activists refer to studies that have limited data and have not been published. To make a general statement that cats kill “billions” of birds each year when these same “scientists” say they don’t really know how many birds are killed is ridiculous. They want us to believe their “science” when they themselves say that are unsure?? Gary J. Patronek, VMD,
And to say that cat activists are opposed to conservation and that we simply do not care about other animals is absurd! The majority of individuals fighting for cats loves and respects ALL animals. For the ABC to imply that because we support cats that we don’t care about birds is irresponsible. We advocate TNR to not only assist cats but to help improve the situation for all animals (including humans). Those practicing TNR are NOT killing animals; the organizations that are killing animals are the ABC and other so-called wildlife conservation groups. Those who promote TNR reduce cat numbers over time by stopping the breeding cycle; we are not killing anyone. It is the conservationists and the wildlife biologists who support and advocate the eradication of one species over another, when deciding how the natural world should “look.” The game of “cat and mouse or bird” has long been the ways of nature; cat rescuers cannot control this and neither can conservationists. In reaching a compromise both TNR advocates and wildlife conservationist can live with, we all must ask ourselves “why are we (humans) so obsessed with managing the natural world?”
Finally, to claim cats are disease carriers and contact with them increases our chances of contracting a disease is just a scare tactic. I am not denying cats get certain diseases, some which can be transmitted to other species, but the same is true for other animals (squirrels, raccoons, birds, etc). Caretakers, trappers, and veterinarians take precautious when handling feral cats; they wear gloves, use traps, tranquilizers, and some, especially vets/techs/rescuers, have had pre-exposure rabies vaccines. Not to mention, TNRed cats are healthier cats because they are feed, vaccinated and sterilized, reducing the risk of disease transmission. This actually decreases the risk that residents will encounter an unvaccinated cat. PLUS, most feral cats avoid humans and only come in contact with them during the actually trapping and sterilization process…so I say nice try when the blogger says it will get our attention when we start getting bitten.
If anything, cats should be rewarded for their assisting us with public health and safety. Thanks to cats, rodent populations are naturally kept in check; which assists in preventing the spread of certain diseases. Australian Environmentalist Frankie Seymour explains the important role cats have in preventing disease as seen in history. Due to the Witch hunts, “by the late Middle Ages, cats in
Europe had been hunted, hanged and burned almost to extinction. Then, of course, the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) arrived in Europe and 25 million people…died in five years because, for several hundred years before, there hadn’t been enough cats to keep the rat population healthy. For the next couple of centuries after ‘the Death’ – centuries which just happened to coincide with the Age of Exploration - cats became popular again. Ships traveling to Asia and Africa were particularly vulnerable to pick up Plague – so cats on ships were considered lucky and necessary.” This is why travelers used to keep cats aboard ships and take them to whatever new lands they were discovering—to control rodents and prevent disease. And they do it naturally; they don’t use poisons or traps like humans, and they get a meal out of it.
People who strongly oppose cats act like those of us who handle cats get bit ALL THE TIME and that cats go out of their way to “attack” people. It’s a good thing we know the truth and that is why we must continue to spread the truth about cats and TNR!