Feral cats do not aban­don their kittens

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum - Steven W. Bren­nan, Wal­dorf

As some­one who has been res­cu­ing, spay­ing and neu­ter­ing cats for more than 15 years in Charles County, I would like to add a few clar­i­fi­ca­tions to the state­ments made in your July 20 ar­ti­cle, “Kittens flood­ing county an­i­mal res­cue shel­ters.” Es­pe­cially egre­gious is the state­ment that “Many of the kittens were found by lo­cal res­i­dents on the road, aban­doned by their mother, and in some cases their mother is feral or died.” Mother cats, es­pe­cially feral mother, do not aban­don their kittens, they leave their kittens in a safe place dur­ing the day to go find food and re­turn at night to feed the kittens. So kittens should not be moved un­less you are sure the mother was killed. The other prob­lem and a ma­jor is­sue is the pol­icy at the Tri-County An­i­mal Shel­ter and the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of ac­cept­ing kittens from the same peo­ple year af­ter year with­out the moth­ers be­ing spayed. These or­ga­ni­za­tions do not pres­sure peo­ple to get their cats spayed and neutered out of fear that they will harm the kittens rather than bring them to the shel­ter. Thus ev­ery year the shel­ters are over­whelmed with kittens caus­ing adult cats to be killed to make room for kittens.

Fif­teen years ago, we at Throw­aways Res­cue Foun­da­tion pro­posed that Charles County com­mis­sion­ers in­sti­tute trap, neuter and re­turn as of­fi­cial county pol­icy as In­dian Head had done. An­i­mal con­trol even drafted reg­u­la­tions, but they were never adopted, in­stead dra­co­nian cat li­cens­ing reg­u­la­tions were im­posed by the com­mis­sion­ers that did noth­ing to ad­dress the over­pop­u­la­tion and aban­doned cat prob­lem. It is time for the county com­mis­sion­ers to adopt trap, neuter and re­turn as of­fi­cial county pol­icy and it is time to en­sure that peo­ple who bring kittens to the shel­ters trap the mother cats and get them fixed. Tough mea­sures are nec­es­sary to stop the an­nual kit­ten flood and stop the killing of thou­sands of in­no­cent cats at the tri-county shel­ter. The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion is ex­pen­sive for the tax­pay­ers and res­cue groups and in­hu­mane to the cats. And, please, don’t take kittens that are not weaned away from their mother. They are not aban­doned. Cat moth­ers are ver y good at tak­ing care of their ba­bies.

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