The cat population is growing rapidly as more and more cats get born on a daily basis. Currently, there are ninety-five million owned cats in the US. About 50% of homesteads in the US today own at least one cat. According to Aljazeera America, the Humane Society estimates that there are about 50 million+ feral cats living in the US in colonies. With such numbers currently on record and the fact that the number keeps rising, it is necessary to try and curb the fast-rising wild cat population. A neighborhood in North Hollywood is trying to do just that by trapping the cats and spaying them to prevent reproduction and overpopulation.
The residents in North Hollywood have been using a method called Trap Neuter Release to try and control the cat population. The residents use boxes to trap the cats then take them to the vet or other specially trained people to spay or neuter them. Spaying, however, isn’t the only thing that is done to the cats as they get vaccinated as well and their ears are tipped to inform others that the specific cat has been given the necessary vet care. After the cats receive the medical care that is accorded to them they are then returned back outdoors. In early January, the residents said they began noticing traps on Oxnard Street Elementary School’s grounds.
In a statement, the Los Angeles Unified School District said that they were uneasy with the ever-growing presence of feral cats since they can put the students’ and staff’s safety in jeopardy. To back the statement the school district added that the feral cats pose a potential for causing harm physically and transmitting diseases to humans. The Oxnard Street Elementary School’s officials said that so far no cats had been trapped on the campus but neighbors seem to think otherwise. The neighbors around the school’s vicinity have claimed that most of their community cats have gone missing recently. According to KTLA, placing traps without posting signs or even acquiring a permit for placing the traps is considered a misdemeanor and legal action can be taken against the perpetrators.
A similar incident occurred in Belle Air Elementary School where the institution had set traps to tone down the occurrence of feral cats’ population in the area. The institution cited that the cats’ poop caused some serious health issues for the children who played in the school’s compound. Unfortunately for the school’s neighbor Mr. Brian Paxton, his cat Tiger got caught in the trap. Tiger didn’t have an identification chip when he got caught. The school set traps in the evening and the trapped cats were retrieved the following mornings and taken to the Peninsula Humane Society. At the society, the social cats get put up for adoption while the unsocial and somewhat wild cats are euthanized. Unfortunately, most of the cats that are usually brought into the shelter are usually unsocial, severely injured or sick which doesn’t leave the staff at PHS with many options.
By law, the feral cats have to be kept at the shelter for 4 days which is not inclusive of the day they were brought in. After the 4 day period has elapsed the cats become property of the society. According to SM Daily Journal, Jacquelyn Dawley, a member of the Homeless Cat Network Board reached out to the Belle Air Elementary School in an email to try and seek partnership with them in order to find a more humane way to handle the cat crisis. The email provided various alternatives for capturing feral cats and methods of handling them. Some of the methods outlined in the email include post-sterilization relocation of the captured cats and placing them in an actively managed feral cat colony.
Steve Meinecke, the owner of Critter Control which is a humane state-recognized trapping agency said that removal of the offending cats wasn’t just about their poop. He stated that the cats had been in the wild for long and hadn’t gotten cleaned or vaccinated and they carried bugs such as ticks, lice, and fleas which were transferrable to the children and staff. Brian Paxton, a victim of the traps set in the school decided to put a collar on his other cat, Smoky but even so, the cat still got caught in the trap. Paxton decided to put microchip identification on his cats but even so, the cats are still traumatized about the whole ordeal. Advocates provide a way to ensure your furry feline companion doesn’t get caught in the traps in a 3-step approach. The first approach is to ensure your cat stays inside the house. The second approach is to always ensure that your cat has identification.
The third approach is to ensure your cat has a microchip identification in case the second approach which is mostly in terms of a collar fails or if the collar drops. All the cats and animals in general that are taken to the Peninsula Humane Society are always scanned for microchip identification. The school district has so far paid a total of over $1500 to the Critter Control for its services in the school’s campus. The Humane Society has also offered the Belle Air residents a discount on the microchips in an effort to try and arbitrate and fix the problems such as the ones that Paxton and his cats Tiger and Smoky ran into.
Although the motive behind the cats’ capture remains to be innocent as is related to the fact that the feral cats pose a serious threat to the people around, there still remain a humane way to capture the cats other than placing traps since even domesticated cats get trapped there once in a while as is the case of Paxton’s cat tiger.