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Letter to the Editor: Thank you for pointing out the importance of the feral cats issue

I was very pleased to see the article on Feb. 27 on feral cats and the program being highlighted that is working to help with the feral cat issue in Georgia.  Reporting on this important group and all the good they are doing to help these defenseless and often misunderstood cats does a huge service to our community. 

Here are some facts taken from various agencies including the Centers for Disease Control, based right here in the great state of Georgia. It’s the nation’s health protection agency employing various doctors and scientists whose job it is to protect the citizens of this great country.

According to the CDC, there has not been one case of cat to human rabies in over 40 years. Rabies is extremely rare in cats and rabies in all domestic animals only accounts for 7.6 percent of rabies cases; wild animals account for 92.4 percent in 2015.  These cats while not socialized are usually as healthy as most domestic cats. They rarely have contact with any humans so any disease transmission is highly unlikely.  All animals trapped are checked over by the trap and release programs and treated if needed, neutered and immunized before they are released, which benefits everyone.

Of the feral cats brought in for spaying and neutering, less than half of 1 percent are euthanized for medical reasons including disease.  It cost $16 billion to catch and kill feral cats compared to $7 billion for trap and release.  That’s a huge savings and minor compared to the innocent cat lives spared.

Catch and release will and does decrease feral cat populations: one un-spayed female cat (with a life span of 7 years) and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens.  There are many programs all over the country that have documented evidence of feral cat populations decreasing by more than 50 percent, reduced cats in shelters and a reduction in euthanized cats, all because of trap and release programs being implemented. It works, plain and simple. 

While Dawson County does not officially have a trap and release program it is my hope that one day they will.  We do however have many caring individuals that take it upon themselves to neuter strays and feral cats and do what they can to help, usually at their personal expense. We also have an amazing shelter that is a “No Kill” shelter and they try and place feral cats in places where they will thrive, unlike Forsyth that is not a “No Kill” shelter.

Controlling their population humanely helps us all and helps the cats.  It is not up to us to decide one animal is more worthy of living than another, nor should we kill animals because someone finds them to be a nuisance.  Working with, understanding and supporting those trying to fix the problem would be a positive move that would benefit us all.

Many thanks to Dawson County News and the people who give tirelessly of themselves to help these animals, you do make a difference.  Thank you!


Ellen Smith