EDITOR – Approximately four months ago, during a rainy spell, a friend informed me that a tortoiseshell cat with four very tiny kittens had moved into her back garden. She provided the mother cat and kittens with shelter and put out food.
She was hopeful that she could socialise the kittens to enable them to be homed, sadly, this did not materialise.
She realised that all of them would have to be caught and euthanised to prevent on-going breeding.
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The kittens, one ginger, one black and white and two black, grew prettier each day.
This past week has been one of the most harrowing, if not the most harrowing time, of her life.
She has made endless telephone calls to rescue societies for help, some of which said they could not help or would trap, sterilise and return them to her.
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She did not want a feral colony in her back garden. What if one should need medical attention and is unable to be handled, she should go on holiday or wish to sell her house with a feral colony in situ?
I can understand that other people, in a similar situation, resort to poison all because of an irresponsible owner who did not spay or neuter and they, like her, inherited the problem.
Her last resort was to hire traps from the SPCA to try to catch them herself.
She did, as instructed and put food at the end of the trap at a time when she was nearby.
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The ginger and black and white were the first victims. Thank goodness she was on hand to throw a towel over the trap as the kittens inside were hysterical, leaping and clawing at the cage.
She then had to take them to the SPCA and would return later that day to collect the trap to catch the remaining feral cats.
This happened on a further three occasions when she was able to trap both black kittens on consecutive days and finally the mother, who was even more hysterical when caught.
As an animal lover, she felt like Judas and this episode has left her heartbroken.
These little creatures have been betrayed by a previous owner who did not take responsibility for the cat they housed and she ended up with the problem.
The SPCA informed her that it struggles to home domesticated cats so what chance do feral cats have?
The problem of feral cats has to be addressed, it has to stop.
My heart goes out to the vets who have to euthanise healthy animals because they are in the business of helping and healing animals.
Please sterilise your pets.
They will wander less and live longer.
If this plea has resulted in you booking a sterilisation appointment with your vet, tell them why.