Cat overpopulation is a serious issue in numerous countries. This is because cats can breed (https://www.thesprucepets.com/how-many-pregnancies-per-year-554845) at much faster rates than what interested individuals might have guessed. For those who are curious, a cat will mature in about five to nine months. After which, it can start producing as many as five litters in a single year because its gestation period is a bit longer than two months. Each litter can range from one kitten to 12 kittens, but the mean would be four kittens. Based on these numbers, it should come as no surprise to learn that a cat population can increase very fast, which can cause serious problems (https://www.nola.com/archive/article_eb5c5aae-d596-552f-995d-6dfbe87ce68f.html) for both cats and humans.
Why Is Cat Overpopulation Problematic For Both Cats and Humans?
For cats, everything can be traced back to the fact that every single environment has limited resources. Simply put, even the most fertile locations are finite rather than infinite. This means that they can support a limited number of plants, which in turn, means they can support a limited number of herbivores, which in turn, means they can support a limited number of carnivores. As such, most environments can support fewer carnivores than herbivores. Something that happens to be a real problem when cats aren’t just carnivores but obligate carnivores.
Of course, nature is self-correcting to an extent. An abundance of resources will cause a rise in the number of the relevant animals. Similarly, a scarcity of resources will cause a fall in the number of the relevant animals. Circumstances are always changing, which in turn, means that the numbers are always returning to a new equilibrium. Unfortunately, while this process might sound neat and clinical, it is anything but. After all, a scarcity of resources causing a fall in the number of the relevant animals translates into living beings dying from hunger as well as other forms of want, which tends to be a very painful and very unpleasant process. Cats might not be as intelligent as humans. However, there can be no doubt about the fact that cats are capable of suffering.
For humans, the issues are both numerous and wide-ranging in nature. One excellent example would be the suffering of the cats. Generally speaking, human empathy is more than capable of extending itself to cover other species. As a result, most people tend to have a very negative reaction to signs of dead, dying, and suffering cats, particularly if they are used to thinking of the species as companions. Due to this, cat overpopulation can have a real effect on human happiness in the region. Another excellent example would be cats’ impact on local ecosystems. Cats are excellent hunters. Unfortunately, cats are excellent hunters that engage in surplus killing, meaning that they will kill more animals than what they will actually eat. This is bad in ecosystems that are used to the presence of cats. However, this is catastrophic in ecosystems that are not used to the presence of cats, which remains the case in a wide range of places in a wide range of countries. Species that have no adaptations for the presence of cats can see their numbers plummet. Something that can also destabilize the other species that are reliant on their presence for one thing or another. On top of this, it should be noted that human activity is already extremely disruptive in a lot of these places, thus worsening the problem. Besides this, humans also tend to be less than thrilled by the various nuisances that a cat overpopulation can cause. For instance, no one likes listening to stray cats yowling at one another. Similarly, no one likes seeing cat urine being sprayed everywhere because of cats marking out their territories.
What Can People Do About This Problem?
Various places have used various methods to handle the problem of cat overpopulation. However, it is popular for animal welfare organizations to go for trapping before following up with either spaying or neutering. Essentially, this means that they will either catch cats on their own or encourage interested individuals to catch cats for them. After which, the animal welfare organizations will either spay or neuter the cats before releasing them back into the local environment. This prevents the cat from breeding without doing damage to them. Something that can’t be said for, say, just killing the cats, which still sees use in some places. Regardless, fewer cats put less of a strain on the animal welfare organizations’ limited resources, thus enabling them to do more when it comes to the minimization of suffering. Of course, interested parties also use other methods to help out. For instance, there are some animal welfare organizations that run programs meant to turn ownerless cats into working cats, which can be particularly useful for ownerless cats that are human-friendly enough to share a space but not human-friendly enough to make the transition into being a full-time pet. However, trapping followed by either spaying or neutering is the big one brought up in the present time.
In any case, there is a great deal that interested individuals can do to combat the problem of cat overpopulation. For instance, cat owners can choose to get their cats either spayed or neutered, thus reducing the chances of their cats producing more cats without their oversight. Similarly, would-be cat owners can choose to adopt a cat rather than buy a cat, thus helping out a cat in need while also reducing the demand for the production of more cats. On top of this, interested individuals should look into various ways of helping out animal welfare organizations because people working in unison can get much more done than those same people working on their own. Money is always useful because there are either no or almost no animal welfare organizations that have all of the resources that they need to do everything that they want to do. However, other resources tend to be very helpful as well, with an excellent example being labor provided through volunteering. Beyond this, even spreading awareness of the issue of cat overpopulation can be beneficial because the more people who know about it, the more people who will be incentivized to do various things that can help out in one way or another.