New York has a massive problem with feral cats. Essentially huge colonies of cats that live in the city without a human owner. Unfortunately the colonies are not quite as lovable as Top Cat and his cronies are in the Boss Cat cartoon.
Between 10,000 and 100,000 feral cats live in New York. They live in around 13,000 colonies across the five boroughs and in such large numbers they can pose a health and safety threat to humans as vectors of disease.
If a cat is caught by or brought to NYC Animal Care & Control then it will ususally be "put-down" in other words killed. For many years this approach has been seen as the only way to cut down the population of feral cats in the city. There are too many cats and not enough humans wanting to give them a home for a shelter program to work so its ususally a euthanasia injection and off to the incinerator.
Animal concern groups are asking for a rethink. They believe that killing the cats is inhumane and that the inroduction of more trap-neuter-release (TNR), and spay/neuter programs (S/N) coupled with education can be just as effective long term as extermination.
At the moment such programs are not run by the City but by volunteer groups such as Neighborhood Cats. Volunteers go out and humanely trap cats arranging for them to be neutered or spayed before returning them to their colonies now not able to reproduce.
Such programs can work in reducung feral cat poulations but only when they reach a critical mass. Low numbers of neutering and splaying are not effective.
Many feel that the time has come for the City itself to stop killing cats and move to a widespread TNR or S/N program which should bring down cat populations over a period of time. It's important too that cat owners also ensure that their cats are neutered / spayed as otherwise they will continue to breed with the feral cat population and the problem goes on.
To avoid cats being caught and taken for operations when they have already been spayed/neutered some organisations 'tag' their ears. This means removing a nick of the cat's ear. This however does not go down well with some cat lovers who believe that it is in itself cruel.
Many would like to see the stopping of cat extermination in New York as soon as possible with a city funded program of spaying and neutering introduced across the city.
While good old Top Cat himself would not look forward to being neutered he might well prefer it to the other option - death!
why so scrawny cat?
are you starving for fish, mice...
or backyard love?