With reference to Doreen Effa’s letter I believe she makes some valid points with reference to the organization known as SAFARS, they are at times a little aggressive in their efforts to raise funds to rescue cats and at the same time it’s members are passionate about their cause.
However I have to differ with Ms. Effa’s rather Disneyland depiction of the life of a feral cat. If a feral cat survives kittenhood, it’s life expectancy is less than two years. They are not living happily in their fur coats feeding their babies big fat rats. They are out in all elements, snow, rain, everything that goes along with a cat that does not have shelter. They are riddled with worms from eating wildlife, they suffer terrible abscesses from fighting with each other, and invariably die an awful death lying on the side of the road after being hit by a car. I have seen many feral cats and they are always thin and their kittens are always sickly. So feral cats lead a terrible existence and most of them have been born to domesticated cats that were abandoned by their owner. So our society has caused this problem and in a better world we would all work together to solve it.
The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute has done studies that indicate that cats in the United States kill between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds a year. Canadian feral cats would only differ in that their kill numbers would be smaller. If you have feral cats in your neighbourhood they will eliminate every quail chick that is born. They eat indiscriminately, preferring smaller birds such as songbirds or hummingbirds. Part of the pleasure of living in Sooke is seeing the wildlife almost on a daily basis. It is not a pleasure to see a feral cat catch and kill a fledgling bird that is on the ground still being fed by its parents.
I love cats and own three of them but they are not allowed to roam my neighbourhood, killing other animals and causing damage to my neighbour’s homes and property. Those people who have to give up their cat for some reason and choose to dump it out in the wild are not doing their cat any kindness but are condemning it to a life of suffering. The idea that these cats are all healthy and happy, eating up their fat little rats is the farthest thing from reality. It should also be noted that abandoning your cat in such a manner is illegal and you could face charges under the Provincial Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. If you can no longer keep your cat, there are a lot of animal welfare societies that will help you find a new home for it, do your cat a kindness and spend a little time contacting these agencies that offer help.