Setting the record straight on cats
I am writing on behalf of the Baccalieu Trail SPCA in response to some negative feedback to the article on the front page of the March 29th edition of The Compass headlined “ Proposed shelter getting cold shoulder.”
First of all, let me state that trapping is done when a person calls in for our help to trap cats on their property. We do not trap cats without that call. We will not put traps on someone’s property without prior permission to do so. These cats are handled with the utmost care when being transported.
Some individuals have taken the term STRAY and FERAL and used them interchangeably. This is not true. These are two completely different types of cats. By using the terms interchangeably they portrayed the society as euthanizing all cats that come into our care. Not true at all.
First of all, let me define what feral means. Feral is a cat who has never had human contact and will flight when approached or face you in a aggressive manor. They are no longer domesticated and have become wild. They will come to the hand that feeds them but for the most part even they cannot get close to pick them up.
I had a discussion on the issue with an elderly lady of Freshwater who feeds a feral cat on her back door and recently tried to touch him/her and got a terrible scratch when he decided to react. She was surprised and will not try that again. I tell people who feed these cats to be careful when doing so because in turn a cat bite can lead to a terrible infection.
We have also learned that they will attack your household dogs when hungry. A lady that we recently helped catch feral cats from her property let her Shi Tzu out and the cat attacked the dog, scratching its eye. This was her last straw and she was grateful to us for helping her.
The term stray is a cat that at one time had a home and a loving touch but was thrown off or lost for various reasons. These cats for the most part will come to you when approached, and can be handled by humans without the use of a trap. Sometimes they are scared but with a little coercion will let you approach them.
The SPCA then takes these cats to have an exam by a vet and if all goes well, they are available for adoption. There is a timeframe when some of these cats will need to be put down and it is a sad time for shelter staff when that time comes. A lot of the cats taken by the SPCA do find great homes and have a happy ending but common sense has to be used when housing these animals.
In two months the St. Johns SPCA took in upwards to 400 cats. Not everyone realizes how many are actually out there but those numbers are huge so again common sense has to come into play.
Where can you house 400 cats? These statistics are not based on adoptable stray or surrendered cats. They are based on all types: surrendered, stray, abandoned, and feral. These statistics also include cats that were injured, sick or diseased.
Our group belonging to the Baccalieu Trail SPCA are not a formed shelter as of yet, and do not accept strays into our care at Happy Tails. We are helping the St. Johns SPCA wherever we can and learning the proper handling of animals when rescuing dogs and cats. We look out for the best interest of the animals and that’s what it is all about.
There are a lot of other groups out there taking different approaches, which is great. I applaud anyone wanting to help these animals. Our group of members have chosen the SPCA because it is what we believe in and what we are proud to represent. If you, the public, have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to drop us an e-mail at: email@example.com. Laura-Lee Hiscock