Originally Posted by Christy L
You have a good point about the rescues needing to get involved with the strays on the city streets instead of only pulling from shelters, I've talked about this for a long time. With enough volunteers we could reduce the stray population in the inner cities with just sheer numbers.
Trust me they need to be relocated when they are rescued off the streets. Most of them are starving because people are not willing to go to high crime areas to feed them. The vacant buildings are all being torn down, so they don't even have shelter. When I've tried putting doghouses or trashcans fixed up, down there, many times they're stolen. The abuse in the summertime is really bad and the cats are always having to be on the run. It's fun for the teenage boys to sick dogs on the cats down there and nothing is done about it. There's plenty of locations in the county or rural areas that could be used for colonies to live at. We just need a lot of people to be made aware of this situation and begin to help. I'm also praying for the day when oral birth control that can be put down in the catfood for the strays will be ready for us to use to do something immediately to stop the birthrate effectively.
Sadly, there are not abundant rural areas for cats to live. This is a commonly held belief but it is not the case. There are also many cats in rural areas and most property owners do not want to care for more cats than they already have.
You would probably be very surprised to find out that people are already feeding the cats. I have done TNR in a large city for several years now and even in the "worst" neighborhoods, there is almost always someone who is feeding the cats. One alley in particular is well known for drug activity and homeless people hanging out at all hours, living in abandoned cars in the alley. What most people don't know, though, is how much these homeless folks care about the cats who live in the alley. They have very little food themselves but whatever they do have is shared with the cats. And they've become great allies of me and of the cats because whenever a new cat comes in or a litter of kittens is born (which is rare since most of the cats are s/n now), they make sure that I know about it so the situation can be dealt with.
Sadly, too, there is the problem of cats being abandoned in poor urban neighborhoods. My friends and I find an average of one or two new abandoned cats in each alley that we have TNRed. Because either we or a neighborhood resident who has our phone number is there every day, we can keep tabs on the situation and make sure that one cat does not become ten cats.
I would highly encourage you to read this section of the Neighborhood Cats (NYC's feral cat organization) website: http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/info/relocation.htm
, as well as the rest of their site and Alley Cat Allies' information. Inner city New York City and Washington, DC are not very different from inner city Baltimore and what has worked for them (and not worked!) will have the same results for you too.
As for controlling the population immediately, we may not have oral contraception available but we do have good ol' fashioned spay/neuter. This is the perfect time of year to get started, even if you are only able to do a little. There should be very few kittens and almost no pregnant cats, so right now is the time to really make a difference and prevent springtime litters. Remember that even one female cat spayed will mean at least 4-6 fewer kittens born (and suffering) in the next year. That is a big accomplishment!