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Posted on Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ypsilanti Township looks for creative ways to solve growing feral cat population

By Tom Perkins


Photo courtesy of the Humane Society of Huron Valley

Ypsilanti Township Trustee Mike Martin and his wife, Wendy Martin, fit the definition of "cat people." They own five cats who are a part of the family, along with several other pets.

But last summer, the Martins also got acquainted with several other cats they named “Ariel” and “Chunky Butt” among others. That group is among the neighborhood's feral cats, and through the Martins’ efforts, they were all trapped, sterilized at the Humane Society of Huron Valley, vaccinated and released back into the neighborhood.

Feral cats - or “community cats, as the HSHV refers to a broader population of outdoor cats averse to human contact - have particularly been an issue in Ypsilanti Township. On more than one occasion, township ordinance officers have encountered vacant homes sheltering up to 60 cats.

As he walks his dog through the neighborhood each day, Martin said he continues noticing a growing number of feral cats, though there are no solid figures from the township or HSHV on how many community cats live in Ypsilanti Township.

"Let’s say I’m seeing 10 of them on my walk now, then that means there are more I don’t see. Those are going to multiply, and soon we’re going to have a lot of feral cats,” Martin said. “What we’re trying to do is be proactive and prevent the situation from escalating by controlling the population.”

The “Trap-Neuter-Return” approach to controlling the cat population is the most humane and best solution, HSHV officials say. It involves live-trapping community cats, sterilizing them, treating them for disease and releasing them back into the colony where they were found. Their ears are tipped so officials know the cat has been treated.

The HSHV put the program in place in 2007 and has seen a 23 percent drop in the number of strays brought in since then while assisting more than 8,500 cats.

The method is so successful that cities like Calgary and Long Beach created their own large, controlled feral cat colonies to help control the population, and Martin is hopeful something similar could be established in Ypsilanti Township. While there are multiple smaller colonies now, Martin envisions something larger, though he said it’s only being discussed as of now.

Brittany Keene, the HSHV’s community cat coordinator, said the agency is working on a study to at least get a clearer picture of what areas have higher populations of community cats. Keene said she believes Ypsilanti Township might hold more than other communities because parts of it are rural while other parts are more urban, and vacant homes are a good spot for a cat colony to grow.

Regardless of the location, Keene stressed the TNR program is the only humane way to control and address a burgeoning community cat colony in any part of Washtenaw County.

“TNR is the only method proven to be humane and effective at controlling community cat population growth,” Keene said. “The goal of any community cat management program is to maximize the quality of life for the cats, stabilize the colony population, reduce unnecessary euthanasia, and elevate the worth of community cats through education and awareness.”

Martin explained the way he and his wife live trap the cats. For a week, Wendy feeds the cats and lets them get comfortable coming to the dishes. They then place food in live traps without setting the traps. After several days, she leaves the traps empty so the cats get slightly hungry. Wendy then puts the food back in the traps and sets them, which catches all the cats.

The Martins then take the cats to the HSHV and pay for them to be sterilized and receive vaccinations. Their ears are then tipped to signify they are sterilized and vaccinated. Females receive a dose of penicillin to aid in recovery and the cats are held overnight to recuperate before being returned to their original habitat.

The problems associated with community cats or feral cats in a neighborhood don’t threaten humans’ safety but the yowling, spraying and other similar behaviors can be a nuisance.

Keene said cats, for reasons that are unclear, are often considered “second-class pets” and are dumped by owners to live outside. They also are targeted for elimination and killed by some people who simply don’t like feral cats.

Among other tactics, some will try to starve the cats out of a colony by not feeding them, though Keene points out that is ineffective because cats are able to find other food sources. Others call animal control companies that Keene said almost all euthanize the cats, some inhumanely through gassing.

If someone is successful at clearing a cat colony, Keene said, then often new cats will move in or any cats that weren’t “cleared” will continue breeding, but become more cautious.

“Simply put, eradication is only a temporary fix that sacrifices animals' lives unnecessarily, yet yields no positive beneficial return,” Keene said.

She stressed the importance of cat owners spaying or neutering their own pets, and pointed out that cats are fertile animals, producing up to three litters annually.

If residents see stray cats roaming the neighborhood, Keene suggests contacting the HSHV if their ear is not tipped. The HSHV can send out a TNR specialist. They also offer classes once a month to train people to become TNR specialists who can take care of a cat colony. Yet another option is the "Barn Buddies" program, which offers cats for free to farms that will provide a good outdoor home for them.

"The bottom line is that no matter how they came to be outside, community cat overpopulation results from owners who have dumped or lost or let their unsterilized cats roam," Keene said. "This is a problem caused by people. HSHV is committed to protecting and improving the lives of community cats. By spaying and neutering, and vaccinating these cats, we can all do our part to ensure they lead the healthiest lives possible."

Contact the humane society at 734-662-5585.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for



Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 10:33 p.m.

@ Heimer Boodle: OK, I googled it, and my whole opinion of cats (ceiling cats, anyway) has changed. I've started reading the Lolcat Bible, but am finding no need to refer to the Lolcat Bible Translation Project, being multi-lingual –– I grew up reading many Ferry Tales... I think Ladle Rat Rotten Hut was my favorite.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

@ Heimer Boodle: You wouldn't lie to me, wouldja?


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

This seems to directly contradict the Word of Ceiling Cat. According to Genesis 9:7 (LOL Cat edition, obciously): Yah rly, can has teh hawt secks and teh baybeez; Liek, tunnz baybeez, k? Evrywharez." Where's the outrage for that? Where?????


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Wow, Nature Advocate has certainly done his homework! I haven't tried to fact-check everything he wrote, but one of his links, (, is to a peer-reviewed paper published in the University of Nebraska––Lincoln's EXTENSION. Three authors, over twenty participating students, and over twenty scientific papers cited in the appendices. Here are a few quotes from it: "Proponents of feral cats also suggest that well-fed cats do not prey on wildlife. Research shows that cats maintain their predatory instincts, no matter how well fed they are. The diets of well-fed house-based cats in Sweden consisted of 15% to 90% native prey, depending on availability." The article also debunked the myth that cats control the populations of invasive species such as pigeons, house mice, Norway rats, and starlings: "Feral cats do kill some of these animals, but they are not effective in controlling populations because [those animals] have adapted to living in close association with humans and human-related disturbance. In California, 67% of rodents, 95% of birds, and 100% of lizards brought home by cats were native species, and native species were twice as likely to be seen in areas without cats." They also do NOT recommend TNVR (they add a "V" for vaccinate): Models have suggested that more than 70% of a population of feral cats must be spayed or neutered before the population will decline. NO REAL-WORLD EXAMPLE OF ELIMINATING A COLONY THROUGH TNVR EXISTS (emphasis mine), and evidence of large-scale colony reduction is anecdotal. One study indicated that eliminating a colony would take 4-10 years. Furthermore, TNVR can cost over $100/cat (including trapping, spaying/neutering, vaccination, and transport), AND THE CATS ARE STILL ABLE TO PREY ON NATIVE BIRDS AND MAMMALS (emphasis mine).

Nature Advocate

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 6:39 a.m.

Here's a publication from a study done by the University of Nebraska on the best ways to HUMANELY deal with a feral-cat problem wherever you live. This INCLUDES the best firearms, ammo, and air-rifles required to HUMANELY destroy cats. You might also enjoy knowing ... If you advocate for cats as rodent-control on farms and ranches you've already doomed them to being drowned or shot when it becomes a financial liability more than any asset. Ranchers and farmers worldwide are fully aware that cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasite can cause the same birth defects (hydrocephaly and microcephaly), still-births, and miscarriages in their livestock and wildlife as it can in pregnant women. This is also how this cats' brain-parasite gets into your meats and onto your dinner-tables, from herbivores ingesting this cat-parasites' oocysts in the soils, transferred to the plants and grains that they eat. Not even washing your hands in bleach will destroy this parasites' oocysts if you have contracted it from your garden or yard that a cat has defecated in. This is why any cats are ROUTINELY destroyed around gestating livestock and wildlife management areas in the most efficient, humane, and least expensive method available. Common rural practice everywhere. The risk of financial loss from dead livestock and important native wildlife from an invasive species cat is far too great to do otherwise. This cats' parasite is now even killing off rare marine mammals along all coastal regions from run-off containing this cat-parasites' oocysts. The next time you bite into that whole-grain veggie-muffin or McBurger, you need to just envision biting down on a shot-dead or drowned kitten or cat. For that's precisely how that food supply got to your mouth -- whether you want to face up to it or not. If you want to blame someone for the drowning and shooting of cats, you need to prosecute yourself -- every time you eat.

Nature Advocate

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 6:35 a.m.

The law is that it is perfectly legal to destroy any animal, someone's pet or not, that is threatening the health, well-being, and safety of yourself, your family, your animals, or even your property. Also true even in most densely populated cities, firearms laws permitting, if not then 700-1200fps air-rifles are commonly used. The only animals exempt from you taking immediate action, legally, are those listed on endangered or threatened species lists, and any bird species under protection of MBTA (the Migratory Bird Treaty Act). Even then variances can be given should there be sufficient problem but this requires further study by authorities. Since cats are listed in the TOP 100 WORST invasive species of the world in the "Global Invasive Species Database", this means they have no protection whatsoever from being shot on sight, they are not on any protected species list anywhere in the world. Quite the opposite as a matter of fact. Shoot to maim is punishable under the laws that define animal-cruelty (these are the ONLY cases that cat-lovers cite to try to manipulate and scare everyone from shooting their only favorite animal). But shoot to kill is a perfectly legal way to humanely destroy an animal. The same laws and principles that apply to methods of humanely hunting animals also applies to cats. Unlike cat-lovers' psychotic beliefs, the reality is that a cat is just another animal. It's NOT their baby, their child, their offspring. Even if they do view their cats that way, letting them roam free is no less criminally irresponsible than them telling their child to go play in the freeway and then blaming the cars for their child's death. If they let their cat roam free, NO MATTER HOW IT DIES, that is THEIR fault and they can be charged with all laws that clearly define animal-neglect, animal-abandonment, and animal-endangerment. Not to mention being in direct violation of all international invasive species laws in existence.

Nature Advocate

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 6:16 a.m.

Be cautious about using any cats taken from outdoors for adoption or you could be held criminally responsible. There's no way to know a wild-harvested cats' vaccination history, if any, nor their exposure to all the deadly diseases cats carry. If a cat has contracted rabies then a vaccination later will do no good. It's already too late. There's no reliable known test for rabies while keeping the animal alive. They need to be destroyed after they are trapped. It's the only sane and sensible solution. This is why all wild-harvested animals of any type intended for the pet-industry must, BY LAW, undergo an extended quarantine of a MINIMUM of 6 months before transfer or sale of those animals to prevent just these things. Cats are no different than any other animal when wild-harvested. You're risking this following story happening in every shelter across the land. Google for: rabid cat adopted wake county Another example (of thousands), Google for: rabid kitten jamestown exposure Adopting or approaching any unknown cat that's been outdoors is just playing Russian Roulette. The net is flooded with similar examples every week. THOUSANDS of people must endure, pay for (out of their own pocket) the painful and expensive (more than $1000) rabies shots if they get scratched or bitten by any stray or feral cat, especially if that cat cannot be trapped again to destroy it and test it for rabies. Stray-cat feeders are guaranteeing this, by training and teaching these cats to approach humans for food. These cats then lashing out by biting or scratching at any hands that try to touch or pet them.

Nature Advocate

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 6:15 a.m.

FACT: When researching over 100 of the most "successful" TNR programs worldwide, JUST ONE trapped more than 0.4%. Oregon's 50,000 TNR'ed cats (the highest rate I found) is 4.9% of all ferals in their state. Yet, by applying population growth calculus on the unsterilized 95.1% they will have trapped only 0.35% of all cats in their state sometime this year. Less than 0.4% is a far cry from the required 80%-90% to be the least bit effective. FACT: Their mythical "vacuum effect" is a 100% LIE. A study done by the Texas A&M University proved that any perceived "vacuum" is just the simple case that CATS ATTRACT CATS. Get rid of them all and there's no cats there to attract more. I proved this myself by shooting and burying hundreds of them on my own land. ZERO cats replaced them FOR 3 YEARS NOW. If you want more cats, keep even one of them around, more will find you. That university study also found that sterilized cats very poorly defend any territory. Non-sterilized cats, being more aggressive, take over the sterilized cats' resources (shelter & food if any). If there is any kind of "vacuum effect" at all, it is that sterilizing cats cause non-sterilized cats to restore the reproductive void. FACT: During all this investigation I have discovered something that is unfaltering without fail. Something that you can bet your very life on and win every last time. That being -- IF A TNR CAT-HOARDER IS TALKING THEN THEY ARE LYING. 100% guaranteed!

Nature Advocate

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 6:13 a.m.

FACT: Cats are a man-made (through selective breeding) invasive species. And as such, are no less of a man-made environmental disaster than any other caused by man. Cats are even worse than an oil-spill of continent-sized proportions. They not only kill off rare and endangered marine-mammals along all coastlines from run-off carrying cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasites, they destroy the complete food-chain in every ecosystem where cats are found. From smallest of prey gutted and skinned alive for cats' tortured play-toys, up to the top predators that are starved to death from cats destroying their ONLY food sources. (Precisely what cats caused on my own land not long ago.) FACT: Hunted To Extinction (or in this case, extirpation of all outdoor cats) is the ONLY method that is faster than a species like cats can exponentially out-breed and out-adapt to. Especially a man-made invasive species like these cats that can breed 2-4X's faster than any naturally occurring cat-species. FACT: In _TWELVE_YEARS_ Alley Cat ALL-LIES of NYC have only reduced feral cats in their own city by 0.08% to 0.024% (as the months go on that percentage becomes more insignificant), allowing more than 99.92% to 99.976% to exponentially breed out of control. Here's how Alley-Cat-ALL-LIES' deceptive math works: If you TNR 4 cats and 3 get flattened by cars this translates to 75% fewer feral-cats everywhere. Alley Cat ALL-LIES can't even reduce cats in their own city, yet they promote it as a worldwide solution. Then even bigger fools fall for it and promote it.

Nature Advocate

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 6:12 a.m.

Here's how these ignorant, self-serving, and uneducated TNR-advocates are destroying all life on the planet. The TNR CON-GAME FACT: Trap & Kill failed because cats cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control. FACT: Trap, Neuter, & Release (TNR) is an even bigger abject failure because these man-made ecological disasters cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control, and they also continue the cruelly annihilate all native wildlife (from the smallest of prey up to the top predators that are starved to death), and the cats continue to spread many deadly diseases that they carry today -- FOR WHICH THERE ARE NO VACCINES AGAINST THEM. Many of which are even listed as bioterrorism agents. (Such as Tularemia and The Plague -- Yes, people have already died from cat-transmitted plague in the USA. No fleas nor rats even required. The cats themselves carry and transmit the plague all on their own.) FACT: THERE IS ABSOLUTELY _NOTHING_ HUMANE ABOUT TNR. Nearly every last TNR'ed cat dies an inhumane death by road-kill, from cat and animal attacks, environmental poisons, starvation, dehydration, freezing to death, infections, parasites, etc. And if very very lucky humanely shot to death or re-trapped and drowned (the two most common methods employed on all farms and ranches to protect their gestating livestock's offspring and valuable native wildlife dying from cats' Toxoplasmosis parasites). This doesn't begin to count the thousands of defenseless native animals that cats skin alive and disembowel alive for their daily and hourly play-toys. The only difference in destroying cats immediately and humanely instead of trapping, sterilizing, then releasing them to an inhumane death; is that money isn't going into an HSUS or SPCA board-member's pocket, veterinarian's pocket, cat-food company CEO's pocket, or a drug-company CEO's pocket. And that's the ONLY difference!


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 6 a.m.

Interesting that Twp Trustee Martin has determined that feral cats are a super serious problem for his Twp, while the 40+ yr Roe vs Wade Human Abortion controversy is still raging, that sterilization is the solution. Lot of "cat lovers" posting, but tell me: What is so Great about a feral ("wild") cat? Why not hunt them down and transport to HVHS in Superior Twp on Cherry Hill Road. After a very short wait (to "attempt" adoption), they will properly and humanely be disposed of. Tax dollars for expensive doctors to give the Toms a vasectomy? Tubal Ligation for a Queen? Are you people Out-of-Your-Minds? Ypsi Twp has homeless, starving people on the streets and, from your warm homes, yins are chatting about cats having kits!!! Give me a break!!! A totally stupid line-of-chat!!!


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 4:55 a.m.

When did birds earn this exemption from predation (by cats only, apparently)? Nature, red in tooth and claw.

Dog Guy

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 3:46 a.m.

What is wrong with the beaglers around here? Most places rely on them to control both long-eared and short-eared bunnies.

Ben Petiprin

Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 10:27 p.m.

They should institute something resembling the bottle return system. Anyone who brings in a healthy, unharmed stray cat gets something around $15 for his trouble.

Megan Turf

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

That's not bad actually. The only question is where the money is coming from, but i totally get the point. There could potentially be issues with non-feral cats being brought in cause they're outside with a collar, but that could be dealt with. One look by the vet and they'll know whether they're fixed or not.

Ben Petiprin

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 8:35 a.m.

Why not, smart guy? Give everyone in the neighborhood a reason to look for the stray cats. I don't care about bird populations or anything else that some of these people are talking about. But if I was given money for every cat that I brought in, I'd be out all day catching them. If you'll investigate my suggestion, you'll find nothing inhumane about it. Money would ONLY be given out if the cat was brought in UNHARMED. And think about it, probably about half the people who bring in bottles and cans care at all about the environment. Give people some other motivation.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 12:44 a.m.

A bounty? Really?


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 9:36 p.m.

@ Tommy J: I'm willing to believe your anecdotal experience with your own cats, but I don't think that there is any science to back up claims of significant reduction in predation. And it sure goes against my personal experience with both neutered and un-neutered cats! I guess if you overfeed them, they'll be less athletic, and less capable of catching birds. But that goes for un-neutered cats as well. As Robert said above, "If they have a food source they do not need to hunt AS MUCH..." (emphasis mine). But they will still hunt and kill. And most TNR cats definitely do NOT receive the regular, permanent, and large supplies of food that would be needed to have any hope of significantly reducing their bird predation. Obviously, anything we can do to reduce cat populations is a good thing. TNR goes on that list, along with ALL forms of population control.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

@ Tommy J, re: "If you feed the cats on a regular basis, the cats do not hunt birds. " And I've got a nice bridge here that I'll sell you real cheap...

Megan Turf

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

I've had a number of feral cats in my garage for over 10 years. All fixed thanks to TNR. I fed them twice a day and was never the recipient of a "gift". Once i found a dead mouse. That's about it.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 8:46 p.m.

I speak from experience. My cats and birds eat from the cat food pile at the same time, and the cats don't bat an eye at the birds.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 7:03 p.m.

Kudos to the Martins for their dedication to solving this problem. I would consider donating to a fund that defrays the cost of food, traps, and cat surgery. Or maybe HSHV already has such a fund? Nice story, Mr. Perkins.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 7:17 p.m.

You can donate to the TNR program at HSHV.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 6:52 p.m.

I have two feral cat colonies and I have participated in the TNR program with all my feral cats. All my cats have been neutered through the program. I feed the cats daily, take care of them, and have even tamed them to the point that they let me pick them up. If you feed the cats on a regular basis, the cats do not hunt birds. In fact, in both my colonies, the birds in the area actually eat the cat food along side the cats when I feed them. I have cardinals, blue jays, I've even seen a few orioles. The cats do not hunt them, I've never found a dead bird from my feral cats. When you feed them regularly they do have to hunt and don't bother the birds. But they are a great way of controlling moles. My yard and neighbor's yard is mole free now thanks to them. And they keep the mice population down as well. The TNR program is great, and the people at Huron Valley that run the program are very helpful. The article doesn't mention it, but the program is actually free and open to donations.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 10:39 p.m.

These cats can provide a good "service" by controlling the rodent population -- esp. mice and rats.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 8:50 p.m.

It's not exactly free unless you own your own trap. They keep $10 from the cost of using the trap.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 6:36 p.m.

Teh resolution would be to educate peopel to spay / neuter their pets and REQUIRE that any pets given away for FREE ro sold be altered prior to the transfer. Requiring microchiping also would allow the dumpers to be tracked and held accountable for supplying the population with more breeders. There really si NO reason why soemone without a breeder license should have unaltered pets. But of course, imlimenting and enforcing these kinds of regualtions and controls woudl require the communtiy to be involved and insist on them.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

Kinda puts all of that uproar over a dog park in perspective, doesn't it? All of that outraged arm-flapping over harmless Fido, while cats –– both feral and domestic –– decimate bird populations unchecked. And I say unchecked because TNR does nothing to stop the small number of cats they neuter from continuing to kill.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 10:44 p.m.

Apparently some people think being overrun with rabbits and chipmunks is a good thing. Not too many people think that, however. I admit, though, if my cat (formerly feral) drags home a chipmunk and it's not dead - I pry it out of its mouth and release it. There were seven brought home dead last year, and the neighbors are pleased, but would like a bigger count.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 6:38 p.m.

Actually, building homes and eliminating wild areas is decimating birds inthe US, especially near migratory routes. Teh birds killed at your feeder are almost all invasive species from Europe and they, too , have decimated the native populationof birds.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 6:24 p.m.

That's a bit of a stretch, Brad, to compare fowl raised for human consumption to wild song birds, chipmunks, baby rabbits, etc.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

Know what decimates birds? Humans. We eat them every day in large quantities. To wit: "The National Chicken Council estimates Americans will eat 1.23 billion wings over Super Bowl weekend" Using the two-wings-per-chicken model that is over 600 million dead chickens for one football game weekend. And people want to pick on feral cats? Read more:


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 4:48 p.m.

Eradication doesn't work, but TNR does? Seems to me that the trapping part is the same either way. The difference lies in what you do with the critter after it's caught. A cat without an owner is just a nuisance. Euthenize it. That will not only reduce the population of feral cats, but will spare the local small critters and birds from predation.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 7:14 p.m.

When you kill a cat or remove it from an area, it creates a void and another cat will move in and if not fixed will reproduce and create more cats. When you neuter a cat, it fills the void and the cat does not have more kittens and increase the population. Keeping neutered cats alive reduces the overall population.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 6:39 p.m.

TNE keeps dominent cats tha cCAN NOT breed inth area which keeps younger cats frominvading that same territory and increasing the population.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

Let the cats do what they do best - kill birds. If you kill all the cats, it'll be open season for the birds on every car they see. You can avoid poo on the ground, but poo falling from the sky is just nasty.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 10:39 p.m.

Without the cats, you'll also see an exponential increase the mouse, vole, mole and chipmunk populations. But, vermin is always nice to have around. It's wildlife.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

I'm beginning to wonder if Ann Arbor is as educated as I thought. Most of these comments are completely ridiculous and are not participating in any meaningful way to a solution to the problem. Kill them? Real humane people. I am an active birder in Washtenaw County and while I understand people are worried about wildlife, I think you are missing the point to this. TNR – this program has a caretaker or caretakers that feed the feral cats. If they have a food source they do not need to hunt as much, and they are not reproducing which is a much bigger issue. This seems to be a wonderful program with great potential so I'm interested in seeing what happens overtime.

Megan Turf

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

And no flamers - Cats are wild animals too. Their existence outside doesn't change any balance. Birds have plenty of predators. It's just that cats are often indoor pets that make them a good target for when they're inside. Cats killing birds is natural. It's very natural. Stop acting like it's some imbalance.

Megan Turf

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

Actually dogman, i've taken in feral cats. Like it says in the article, they get trapped using live traps. Sometimes it's not easy, but none of them jump in the car. Even my indoor cats don't "jump in the car".

no flamers!

Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 3:29 p.m.

I continue to struggle with the reasoning behind a claim that it is inhumane to kill a feral cat when there is no dispute that feral cats kill wildlife. It seems to me a greater moral imperative to allow naturally wild animals to live without interference of feral cats than to let feral cats change the ecological balance. And btw, cats hunt whether they are hungry or not, so the argument that some feral cats are fed at least at little isn't well considered. We have to accept that something is going to be killed--either it is a feral cat with a .22 or a X dozen Cardinals/year by the claws and fangs of feral cats.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

According to the article the program has been in place since 2007. It says there has been a 23% drop in the number of strays brought into the shelter. I would suspect the number of feral cats included in their statistics is near zero. When's the last time a feral cat jumped into the car for a ride to the pound?


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

Sounds like a lot of you should just stick with your dogs. All they eat is their own poop.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 12:42 a.m.

Nothin like a good poopsicle !


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 10:36 p.m.

Dogs certainly do eat (just kill, actually) song birds, or any other bird they can get their jaws on, also frogs and other small critters.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

Point taken, Brad. They also don't eat song birds!!!

no flamers!

Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

I would have like to see this story explore the most common and effective way of reducing the unnatural and over-population of feral cats--open hunting season. There are arguments for and against. But to ignore this option seems odd to me. Michigan allows open season for many other small mammals--Opossum, porcupine, weasel, red squirrel, skunk, ground squirrel and woodchuck may be taken year-round with a valid hunting license that costs about $15/year. Feral cats kill maim and torture birds and other small animals in their daily feeding habits (sure, the cat isn't trying to torture the bird, but tell that to Tweety!). The point is, if we kill a cat we save 100 birds. I prefer 100 birds to 1 feral cat. Heck, I'd prefer 1 bird to 1 feral cat.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 10:20 p.m.

It's rather odd to charge a cat with killing, maiming and torturing birds and other small animals when it's only an animal itself, following its instincts as created. Yet, you think the logical remedy is to enlist humans to kill them. Humans who kill, maim and torture birds and large and small animals simply because they enjoy the sport of hunting. It's entertainment to them, but that's good, eh?


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 6:40 p.m.

I prefer one cat to thousands of invasive European Starlings littering the sidewalks wehre I work.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

I'm kinda surprised no one is trying to draw any comparisons between this and the Barton Hill's deer cull....

Paul Taylor

Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 1:40 p.m.

How about adding "de-claw" to tag-neuter-return, if they think eradication is only a temporary fix. Let's see those precious little killers try to take down songbirds with what are basically mittens at the ends of their legs. Then, we focus on the other scourge: "owners" who let their cats outside to wander freely, out of sight and out of mind, for ANY amount of time.

Megan Turf

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

Cats fight with dogs, possums, skunks, etc. Declawing them is taking away their only means of self defense. I'm with huh7891 - let's pluck off your fingernails instead.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 12:40 a.m.

How about we pluck off your fingernails?


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

The "Trap-Neuter-Return" approach to controlling the cat population is the most humane and best solution, HSHV officials say. Lets put this to a vote like the Humane Society want with wolf hunts! Not a chance in hades they will want to put this to a vote!


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

Should've been more clear. The HSUS is behind the opposition to the wolf hunt!


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

I agree completely, jcj. But to be fair, it's the Humane Society of the United States that is behind the wolf hunt. My position on the wolf hunt is if the HSUS is against it then I'm all for it.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

Wow! 3 litters per year! who knew? Note to anyone who thinks it is somehow 'cruel' not to let your kitty roam outside: 1) if not spayed/neutered it will contribute to this overpopulation problem, 2) it can pick up parasites and other nasty illnesses, 3) it can get hurt/killed. All of the above have happened to kitties owned by friends and relatives of mine who let their cats outside for extended periods, often overnight. If you keep kitties housebound from day 1 they won't cry to go outside and will be happy to stay inside with its 'people' and with food/shelter. Just one way to cut down on feral cat populations...


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

So they aren't feral. What's the point?


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 7:28 p.m.

I have 2 cats - one never wants to go outside and runs away from the door if you open it. The other one hides and waits to sprint through the slightest opening often getting tangled in the person's feet trying to walk in or out. They were housebound for well over a year before crazy decided it was more fun outside than inside. Not all the cats are the same.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

Leash laws for cats. County wide.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 12:44 p.m.

BADGERS!!!!1111 LOTS AND LOTS OF BADGERS!!!!! Just haul a metric buttload of them down to river street and LET EM GO!!!!!! Bet that little kitty problem will be cleared up within the week...

Rork Kuick

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

In less densely populated neighborhoods, like mine, coyotes have provided excellent "ecosystem services". Cat owners might be better behaved as a result too (I don't let my tiny dog out unattended either, but he was owl-bait to begin with). Various other animals are impacted too, but for me it's mostly been positive.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

We don't need to stinking badgers.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

T-N-R??? This sounds identical to a plan the federal government put in place to deal with coyotes that were preying on sheep in the Rocky Mountains. The gov't. dispatched a spokesman to explain how the program worked and all seemed to ge going fine until one grizzled, old sheep farmer stood up and proclaimed, "Son, those coyotes aren't fornicating our sheep. They're eating them!" I'm certain the birds feel the same way the sheep did.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

Here's the problem in a nutshell:


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 8:31 p.m.

We feed black oil sunflower seeds only so we don't get the "garbage" birds. Everyday we see Titmice, Juncoes, Chickadees, Cardinals, Purple and Gold Finches, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Downey Woodpeckers, Red Breasted and White Breasted Nuthatches and every Spring we have Rose Breasted Grosbeaks stop off for several days in their way North. We want to continue to see them.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 6:33 p.m.

Of course, them ajority of those birds in your yard and under your bird feeder are invasive species form Europe anyway!


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

Spend a few hours watching outdoor cats in action. Then come back and tell me that they don't kill native wild birds, rabbits, etc.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

The study is pretty much a joke though. If you actually look at's all ESTIMATES...they have very little raw data and it's mostly extrapolation. Also....they made WILDLY speculating conclusions that are NOT backed up AND they ignore this little "circle of life" thing we have going on.

dading dont delete me bro

Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

trap neuter return...? sounds like a plan to me. i'd rather listen to/watch the birds.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

I stopped putting bird seed out not because cats attacked the birds, but redtailed hawks certainly did. And it's not pleasant watching a hawk grab a dove or robin and fly off, or worse, eat right in the garden. In this freezing weather, though, I've weakened and have been feeding them again.


Tue, Feb 5, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

One of the two kittens a feral mother graced us with last summer now parks itself directly beneath my neighbor's three bird feeders. Must be its way of thanking the neighbor for providing the shed in the backyard that she was born under.