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Interesting article

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Found this today and thought I'd share. It's an article written by Bob Christiansen on pet overpopulation, and the point that struck me was:

....the two biggest problems we face are pet retention and litters produced by feral, free-roaming, unowned cats that are supplying 70% of the kittens to American households. Everyone has heard of kitten season right! So what are we doing about it? The answer is very little. We have no organized programs in place to address these animal needs.

It's a long read but worth the time spent.

post #2 of 11
That is an interesting article. He is very unemotional and straight-forward in his message and in providing his statistics. Thanks for the link.
post #3 of 11
Hi al

Here's a good link for helping to get the kitten population down if you're in the northern Illinois area:


It's run by a couple of great gals, Sandy & Rebecca. They provide assistance and information about getting the kitties trapped & fixed.

post #4 of 11
I noticed it was written 2 years ago. I wonder if the statistics are any better.

post #5 of 11
Definitely a link that needs to be in the Overpopulation Stats section of Stray Pet Advocacy!

Thanks Amy! It's a great article.

Bob Christianson is soooo right about the perception of adopting from shelters and the role of vets in all of this. Our vet receives a lot of calls for animals - and frequently doesn't have any strays on hand. A program co-ordinating between vets and shelters would be a great idea. Also, along the "perception" problem lines, he's right about the success of Petsmart and other similar programs. The problem with this, however, is the manpower and work involved. The poor people at the shelter have to spend days grooming the animals that are going "out" to the sponsored adoption programs, and then they have to choose 8 or 10 or 15 animals out of the hundreds they have, transport them, etc. The programs are great, but require a lot of work.
post #6 of 11
I think members of the community really need to step up to the plate and talk to their friends, family members, coworkers etc. about the advantages and disadvantages of pet ownership.

As far as the feral cat issue...I think we ARE getting more organized. I think we cannot look at this from a national perspective yet because it is simply too overwhelming...but each small success brings us closer to the goal.

post #7 of 11
It was a very interesting article. He addresses the issue of dog overpopulation quite well, but I'm not so sure about the cat side.

I don't actively work with a shelter, so I'm not sure about this. Do you guys think that feral kittens make up 70% of those adopted???? That seems so high to me! Just because, most ferals aren't caught let alone socialized enough to be adoptable. However, the "accident" litters, and the litters that people allow their housecat to have I think are the ones turned into the shelters and hoped to be adopted. Am I off on that perception?

Lisa, I also agree that we are, in general, becoming more organized with TNR programs. While there isn't nationwide programs and generally not even state-wide programs, I think more people are becoming educated about ferals and are doing something about it on a small level (small being relative to the estimated 60 million ferals out there!).
post #8 of 11
Heidi, I think you're probably right about that. My guess is that many people who's cats have kittens HAVE to be indoor/outdoor cats - and he's counting those as feral kittens because they would be left to live on their own outside?
post #9 of 11
...and I just wanted to add... I do think he's right about the lack of consensus on definitions of things. And about the licensing system. And about the need for multiple programs, funding, and for those programs and people to co-ordinate their work. And I think he is SO right about the vets. They are on the front lines, and they need to look at it that way.

We've talked with a lot of the vets around here, and they all take in what strays/ferals they can, and if they have the space to keep them they try to adopt them out. But when they run out of room, they're euthanized (per city ordinances), and they do what they can to help people who can't afford medical care or surgery their animals need if they've been good and devoted owners through the years - but not one of them goes any further. There is a tremendous need for them to encourage owners to spay or neuter their animals, they're in the position to help their towns lobby for funding for spay/neuter programs, and I cannot imagine how much things could improve if they were to co-ordinate with local shelters, especially re: adoption programs. There's a lot of potentional in all of these areas - but like Mr. Christiansen points out, the vets need education about this too!
post #10 of 11
I think he is including strays and outdoor only cats...some of them may be owned. I think that we need to consider the sheer number of stray kittens that are brought into shelters or even the ones that "find" people and get adopted. The point isn't that we should stop trying to end the "oops" births..but to bring attention to the sheer issue of feral cats. I think when this article was written, there weren't nearly the number of organizations that are now practicing TNR. I am very glad to be part of the Alley Cat Allies clinic.

post #11 of 11
TNR1 wrote:
The point isn't that we should stop trying to end the "oops" births..but to bring attention to the sheer issue of feral cats.
Actually, I think his point is that we need multiple programs to address both! I agree. There's a need for low-cost spay/neuter programs AND for education re: TNR programs.
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