Euthanizing animals has never been advocated for unless in some extreme circumstances therefore when you learn of cats on college campus getting euthanized during this lockdown, you are left to wonder what happened to humanity. Although some may reason that killing such feral cats is the best way to control their population, the University of Nebraska proved a TNR program is still effective in reducing their 100 cats to 70, by combining it with a foster and adoption program. The Florida International University has students who have been compassionate towards the feral cats and instead of using that close relationship to teach them about civic responsibility, the institution thought it best to euthanize the felines. Below is the story as well as why institutions should consider TNR instead of euthanasia.
Euthanasia was not the intention, allegedly
Albert Schweitzer once said that the only place you can find refuge from the miseries of life is in a cat and music. It therefore is no surprise that when feral cats found their way to Florida International University they were received with arms wide open by both students and staff. Some students became so fond of the felines that they took them to the vet to be spayed and neutered. They also learned of the usual spots that the cats like to spend their time in but that refuge they had found in the cats’ companionship has become a thing of the past.
Now that institutions are closed, the university’s administration saw the cats as more of a problem than solution and decided to do something about it. They therefore called an animal trapper, Rob Hammer, to get rid of the cats. Since the university made it clear they did not want the felines back on the campus grounds when the lockdown is over, Hammer’s only option was to euthanize them at a local clinic. Word about what the university was doing spread like bushfire to reach students and pet rescue organizations who were angry at the resolution.
One student, Bronstein, learned of the euthanized cats through a friend and immediately used social media to express his disgust per Miami New Times. Lizette Nunez of Good Karma Pet Rescue could not contain her anger when one of the cats was discovered to have a microchip obtained from the organization at the request of a student. She therefore picked the cat up from the clinic and contacted the school’s administration who admitted that they had hired someone to remove the cats.
They however denied that they wanted to euthanize the felines in the first place. A cat advocate, Cindy Hewitt, begs to differ given that she has evidence of how much the institution has been insisting on getting rid of the cats since 2000. Luckily for the remaining cats, Hammer cannot bring himself to euthanize them therefore except for the few that students took home with them when the institution was closed, the rest will remain on the campus grounds, until further notice.
Some think a TNR program is best to control the feral population
Alley Cat Allies explains that only uninformed administrators will have feral cats removed and taken to an animal shelter where they will be killed. According to the article, getting rid of the cats will only create a vacuum which other cats will want to fill by moving in and breeding hence a never ending cycle. Therefore the best way found to mitigate the feral problem is the TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program and most universities including Stanford, and Arizona State among others have adopted it.
Since a female cat can produce as many as 100 kittens in seven years, TNR has been found to be the most cost effective method to stabilize the population. While spaying and neutering will only cost $50-$60, and sometimes no cost at all, euthanizing goes for at least $100. The other benefit of spaying and neutering is that the cat gets vaccinated against rabies while receiving treatment for fleas and internal parasites resulting in a much healthier and stable cat population.
Besides the reduced cost, a TNR program also affords the cats in shelters a much higher chance of adoption which results in less euthanized cats. Also, the more the cats in an area, the more fierce the competition for the scarce resources hence more fighting. Additionally, they will have to mark their territory with urine which can lead to a foul smell thus a controlled population results in less nuisance behavior. Finally, unlike euthanized cats that will leave rodents roaming freely, a TNR program ensures that the cats return to the ground allowing them to hunt and eliminate rodents.
When euthanasia is the only option
It is common knowledge that when an animal shelter is overcrowded, then they will result to euthanizing animals that are most likely old and sickly. However even the aggressive animals are considered to be put down since no one will want to adopt them. Still it is not only in an animal shelter alone that pets are euthanized; even at home, you can decide to put them down depending on their condition. According to Riverside Drive Animal Care Center, you should consider euthanasia if your cat is too ill to even eat or perform other bodily functions.
Also, if the disease will progress to a stage where it will be too painful for the cat, then putting him out of his misery is the ideal solution. Furthermore, treating an illness can be too costly for you and when you realize that you cannot afford the medical care then there is no point in letting the animal suffer. Such reasons could also apply for the feral cats in universities if the students are not prepared to cover the cost of treatment. One cat owner, Martha Winter, spends a big proportion of her income on vet bills each year and although she hates euthanasia, for her TNR is not the ideal way to curb the population of her cats.