Felis Catus as an Invasive Species
The feral cat is an invasive species which has caused harm to our ecosystem a can pose a health threat to humans. It is estimated that there are tens of millions of feral cats that roam the streets in North America. Currently, there are two main methods for controlling the feral cat population: Euthanasia and Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR). One method is considered inhumane as it results in the death of thousands of stray cats, while the other has been considered a more ethical approach to the problem.
The most common method of feral cat population control is to euthanize them.
This method involves trapping feral cats and then taking them off-site to be killed by carbon monoxide poisoning. This method results in an effective and immediate method of controlling the feral cat population. Advocates of this method suggest that this is the only method that will prevent loss of birds and other native wildlife. Even though I believe that this method is a great way to control the feral cat population, on a scale of 1(1=very ineffective, 10=extremely effective), I rate euthanasia a 5 because even though it will result in an immediate decline in the feral cat population, I believe killing cats is inhumane and unethical. Also, killing the cats means they are removed from their habitat, so their prey remains available but not protected because cats from other areas will move in and claim the food source.
Hat people can prevent the trapping and killing of cats by responsibly looking after and sterilizing their pets
Trap, Neuter, and Return is another method that has been used in Canada and control the population of feral cats. With TNR, the cats are usually trapped, neutered by and vaccinated against rabies by a veterinarian. This process requires their left ear to be clipped as a way to identify it as a sterile cat. The cats are then returned back to a colony. The colony is managed my volunteers who feed and monitor the cats. Overtime, TNR should result in the reduction in the number of cat, as they are unable to reproduce. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1=ineffective and 10=extremely effective), I rate this method an 8. I believe this method is very effective since it is a more humane way to treat cats and it will prevent them from reproducing, hence the feral cat population should decrease over time and bird deaths should decrease as well. My only concern with this method is that even though the cats are neutered, you are still putting a predator back into the wild where it can kill more birds and other mammals.
There are a couple of other options that I feel might help reduce the feral cat population. Firstly, I think that promoting adoption within a community might be beneficial. Also, allowing people to own more than the number of cats currently allowed. In Hamilton, Ontario the by-law states that one person cannot own more than 4 domestic animals. If we allow people to own and take care of a larger number of animals...