Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Phoenix Day School for the Deaf have a feral cat problem and they are dealing with it properly

NEWS AND COMMENT: This is a good cat new story in my book. It's straightforward and the outcome is going to be good. And that is because the people who are dealing with the problem are sensible and enlightened.

Feral cat near the school
Feral cat near the school. Photo: 3TV/CBS 5.

In the past several months a feral cat problem has developed at Phoenix Day School for the Deaf. A colony has emerged at the school which has been supported by local residents who been feeding them next to the fence that borders the school. Because of this they been roaming onto the campus at 19th Avenue between Hayward and Morton Avenue.

The problem for Maria Murphy at the school is that they sometimes defecate on the campus. She says they bury it but it's not something they want for obvious reasons on campus.

The good news element of this story is that they decided to work together and employ TNR practices to control the colony. In addition, they are giving instructions to feed the cats for a set period of time daily. They've TNRed 17 already.

Felicity Short has set up a fundraising page to purchase traps and to set up veterinary appointments to get the cat spayed and neutered.

There are useful spin-offs for this kind of activity. You get people together. They work together. They meet each other. You have a community spirit. And you work with the cats to make their lives better but you stop them procreating. It's good for people to do something good for animal welfare. It's good for the collective consciousness.

A lot of people denigrate TNR. These are the anti-feral cat brigade. They want to eliminate them but TNR is so much better when carried out properly. There shouldn't be a discussion about it. Humans put the cats there because of their carelessness and therefore they have a duty to treat them humanely and with decency. It is humankind's mess to clear up.

Cassidy Porter-Whistman, founder of Barn House Rescue AZ hints at the fact that it should be a community effort when she said:

"It takes a village when you have a colony this size and they problem this size, it takes a little bit of a different approach."

They are teaming up with Felicity Short to run a TNR program. And they're going to educate the feeders to maintain the colony but not allow it to grow. The problem with feeding feral cats is that you create a food source. Colonies form around a food source. Also, you attract wildlife. Therefore it needs to be done in a controlled way. This, I think, is what they are alluding to when they say that they are going to educate feeders.

Porter-Whistman said that feral cat feeders tend to over-feed. She advises not to free feed but to feed at a specific time of day I presume in a controlled manner.

She is going to attend the location to educate the area about TNR. 😊 I like that.

She said:

We actually go out and try to educate the entire neighborhood, ask them who's feeding, if anyone's feeding, tell them about the project and then we trap every single night for three to five days until no cats come back to the feeding station. Unless we can stabilize those colonies one colony at a time in that targeted way, we literally would do this for the rest of our lives and never catch up to how many cats there are. They outnumber us, significantly."

A resident makes a good point which is that the cats do serve a purpose in keeping down the rodent population. She said: "You see the same cats around, there are no new cats obviously and it's all about balance because you do need some of them around--I mean, I don't see any mice or rats or other annoying things."

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