Letter to the editor: Feral cat facts

To the editor:

Recent articles regarding changes to animal control laws have been somewhat misleading, or at least unclear, I believe. I keep seeing references to ‘allowing feral cat colonies’ in Lawrence. The reality is, feral cat colonies already exist here and will continue to exist regardless of how we respond to them. The new ordinances do not ‘allow’ these colonies; what is being discussed is how best to handle them.

Trap/Neuter/Vaccinate/Release (TNVR) has been shown to be an effective way to control and minimize these colonies. Many communities have successfully adopted these policies with gradual but significant results.

These changes will allow good people to feed a hungry cat without the risk of stiff fines. It will also relieve the compassionate people who work for the Lawrence Humane Society and Animal Control of the emotional burden of mass euthanasia of healthy cats.

Cats do kill birds but are not responsible for driving some species to extinction, as some have suggested. We humans corner the market on that one, I’m afraid. Cats kill far more rodents (especially mice) and insects; when they do hunt birds, they generally catch common and plentiful species.

Cat colonies exist in Lawrence and anywhere else humans and their companions reside. There are many reasons why cats and humans share habitat; the reality is they share our homes and our lives. They are members of our families. The feral cats that we are so concerned about are the exact same species, and many of us have dear pets who were once a part of these colonies. Let’s teach our children compassion and rationality by adopting humane, effective and financially responsible animal control policies.

Christi J. Jarrett, D.V.M.,



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