Up to 60,000,000 Homeless Cats

This is the estimated number of homeless cats roaming the USA right now. Many animals are unwanted by their owners so they are thrown away. The second, third or, if they can live that long, fourth generation ‘wild’ or feral cats.

January and February are bad months in Cat houses. This is when the excitement of a puppy as a Christmas present ends and the reality of cleaning up litter and daily feeding and training.

An estimated 4,000,000 to 14,000,000 cats are euthanized in the USA each year. I’m heartbroken, but people who dump their unwanted cats really make me angry. Their cruelty and heartlessness, leaving helpless cats or kittens to fend for themselves in a cruel and dangerous situation.

And who pays for these shelters and euthanizing these cats? You do. Even if you are not responsible for the problem.

Most residents wouldn’t dream of abandoning a helpless animal. It’s the few who carelessly, and consciously, are the ones who have created this huge problem.

Let’s talk about some numbers for a minute. Let’s make the number of homeless feral cats 50,000,000. We will make 50% of them adopt women. That’s 25,000,000 cats that can give birth to two litters of an average of 5 kittens per year. That’s 10 kittens per female cat every year to increase 25,000,000 nursing women. By my calculations there are 250,000,000 more feral cattle in the environment every year. Then if half of them are females and they have 10 kittens per year and the 25,000,000 females we started with…… My statistics can’t go up to that high! In seven years, only one breeder of cats can produce 450,000 kittens.

This problem is huge. Destruction of the environment and harm to wildlife and native animals. Cats eat about 5% of their body weight each day. Diseases spread by these dangerous animals affect domesticated animals.

So what can be done. Some states have Trap, Neuter, Return programs. This does exactly what it says. They capture feral cats, release them and release them where they are found as many of these feral cats form colonies. This may be a very good way to reduce the number of feral cats but there are only so many traps, many people help to catch these animals and they cannot do much with those large number. Also, some veterinarians refuse to euthanize these cats because they don’t want them to be returned to the outdoors, which is not their natural environment. Other conservation groups say free-range animals can decimate bird and small reptile populations and spread diseases.

It costs more than money to destroy the animals and the people who are forced to work today every day is a very dangerous time. Many people work in shelters because they love animals, not because they want to kill them.

In Australia, there are discussions about allowing pet stores to sell neutered animals. Only those who are allowed to adopt cats must be registered. Some shires have gone so far as to accept neutered animals as pets. The jury is still out on this one but there are about 12,000,000 feral cats in Australia. Many people try to maintain their ‘herd’ of feral cats by feeding them and ensuring their health. Another problem is (and there is) pain in catching them or bathing them or taking them to a doctor. Some US states have feral cats.

In the small town I live in, some women get together and raise money to clean cats for animal shelters for free. The local surgeon did his part by charging a small fee to cover his expenses. In just a few years, these three women have cleaned more than 400 cats at no cost to their owners. This may be recommended elsewhere.

This is our problem. It’s our job. The cats didn’t ask to leave. It’s up to us to do something about it. I have no answer. I hope I understand some of you in this problem, think about your values. I’m not sorry if I upset you.

If you find a cat, please let me know that it has been cleaned. If you don’t expect it to be productive. And remember, cats are for life. This is often up to 20 years old. And if you love your cat, love will be returned tenfold.

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