Our Town Riverview:
October 16 is National Feral Cat Day

By Mitch Traphagen (mitch@observernews.net)

RIVERVIEW - Due in part to the temperate climate, feral cats are almost ubiquitous in Florida. They are commonly seen behind gas stations and convenience stores, in vacant lots and parking lots.

An organization known as Alley Cat Allies has declared October 16 to be National Feral Cat Day. The purpose of the day is "to explain non-lethal control to segments of the public who do not know either the severity of feline over-population or the solution to it, but they know they don’t want cats killed, to enlighten animal welfare professionals about Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs, and to proclaim to communities that TNR works."

According to the website www.feralcat.com, a feral cat is the ‘wild’ offspring of domestic cats, primarily the result of pet owners failing to spay or neuter their pets. The description continues by stating that a pair of breeding cats having two litters per year, can exponentially produce 420,000 offspring over a seven year period.

It is easy to see that the problem can quickly become staggering. Additionally, growing feral cat populations can have a detrimental impact on other wildlife.

Several organizations around the country are promoting the TNR method in a humane effort to control the situation. The program goals are to stabilize the population, to eliminate annoying behaviors associated with mating and to foster compassion towards the animals. It is also said to be more effective and less costly than repeated attempts at extermination.

TNR has been implemented in neighborhoods within the city of Tampa.

As for the feral kitten shown in the photograph - her name is now Emma, her favorite toy is a collection of feathers on a string called "Mr. Bird," and, as I type this article, she is curled up in a ball sleeping six inches from my keyboard.

Mitch Traphagen Photo

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