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How To Control The Popluation Of Cats In The United States

873 words - 4 pages

Common house cats are domesticated animals, and that means they are meant to depend on and coexist with humans, not live in the wild. In most environments, cats aren’t native species and are therefore invasive, and like most invasive species are a threat to their environment. Not only are they a threat to their environment, but “of primary concern is the welfare of the cats themselves, particularly of kittens, which suffer >50% mortality prior to maturity” (Levy, 64). Despite this, feral cat populations continue to rise and in order to stop this trend, humans need to intervene and put in a good effort to help protect both cats and the environment. Most current efforts of population reduction are rather inhumane and don’t seem to be making much progress, but future attempts at immunocontraception, trap-neuter-return, and no-kill shelters offer humane alternatives and could potentially be very effective.
Unfortunately, “the most common control method for unwanted cats in the United States is impoundment in animal shelters, where several million cats are culled by lethal injection or carbon monoxide gas each year. Poisoned baits, trapping, and hunting are used in many other parts of the world” and all these inhumane practices continue around the world despite their lack of real success (Levy, 64). Due to cats’ high reproductive rates, any cat killed in an effort to reduce population is just going to be replaced by another cat as if nothing really happened (Chronicle of Philanthropy). On top of that, many people find this inhumane treatment of cats to be unacceptable and view it as nothing but a waste of tax dollars (USA Today). With a lack of popular support and an ultimate lack of success, why are these inhumane practices still going on? More time and energy must be focused on finding more humane, effective techniques.
Currently, studies are undergoing to find methods of immunocontraception that will effectively handle feral cat populations. Immunocontraception is the use of various vaccines to sterilize cats so that breeding will be prohibited, and therefore population growth would slow down dramatically. “Functional characteristics of an ideal immunocontraceptive would include a wide margin of safety for target animals and the environment, rapid onset and long duration of activity following a single treatment in males and females of all ages, and sex hormone inhibition” (Levy, 64). Testing has undergone with pZP and GnRH, but so far experimentation has shown rather inconsistent success rates, so further testing must be undergone (Levy, 65-68). However, despite it’s inconclusiveness at this point, the method of immunocontraception is humane and looks...

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