TNR of feral cats makes us feel good

TNR of feral cats makes us feel good but we are not doing the best for the cat. It is better to euthanise them.

…unless these cats [feral cats] can be socialized and until we get the problem of pet overpopulation under control, I believe euthanasia, sadly, is the most humane and loving alternative.” – Dana Madalon, President, Sauk County Humane Society

These are the controversial views of Dana Madalon. PETA have similar views.

Madalon supports her statement by further stating that:

  • feral cats are so sick and diseased it is cruel to operate TNR programs and
  • “Cats are domestic animals. This means they do not have natural defenses or immune systems and thus depend entirely on humans for their medical care. In TNR colonies we see devastating illnesses and diseases that are left untreated”

These are the keystones to her argument that killing feral cats is better than TNR. She states that people who operate TNR programs do it for self-satisfaction. It makes them feel good but is not good for the cats.

She also states that TNR programs are often not managed to a sufficient standard, thereby leading to more miserable cats.

….not done with the necessary amount of care and dedication required, populations explode and cats live miserable lives.

I disagree strongly and fortunately most people also disagree with her. The reasons for our disagreement is that (a) Madalon is misguided about a cat’s immune system. Cats do have effective immune systems (it is very odd that she has this idea) and (b) feral cats are no where near as sickly as she states and (c) I suspect that there are more well run TNR programs than she claims (although I don’t have any evidence of this).

Adele a feral catMadalon has seen some terribly sick feral cats. This may have coloured her opinion. How sick are feral cats? Is she correct?

Dr. Julie Levy, an expert on feline infectious diseases states that 2% of feral cats are FIV positive and 5% are FeLV positive. In a previous post I stated:

In a study {link} in Northern Florida of feral cats it was surprisingly found that the presence of FeLV or FIV occurred no more frequently for these cats than for domestic cats.

Cornell University states that: approximately 1.5 to 3 percent of healthy cats are infected with FIV

FIV is one disease. However, it does indicate that the prevalence of illness amongst feral cats is similar to that of the domestic cat population. Of course, feral cats are not treated in the same way.  However TNR programs do include treatment and euthanasia of sick cats where necessary and possible, as far as I am aware.

Put extremely crudely, Madalon’s argument is that the feral cat population is too sick to save and so should be eradicated humanely. I simply don’t believe this argument stacks up.

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TNR of feral cats makes us feel good — 7 Comments

  1. Madalon is a cold hearted person who is talking a load of rubbish. Some neutered feral cats are far healthier and happier than some poor housebound cats deprived of their natural life.
    TNR does work as is proved by our Cats Protection and yes it does make the people helping them feel good because we love all cats and know that by doing TNR we are preventing more kittens to be born to be subject to abuse from cat haters. Feral colonies can live quality lives in the place they are familiar with and cat loving people can help by TNR and by feeding them.
    Madalon obviously thinks it’s far easier to kill them instead and to go on killing new colonies who move into the space left by the ones whose lives were taken by idiots like her!
    She would be better employed educating people that a cat is for life because they caused the feral problem in the first place by kicking out un-neutered cats to breed.

    • She basically has the science all wrong. What is disturbing is that she is the senior manager of a rescue organisation. Not good. This brings my mind back to shelter management again. How many managers have similar ideas? As far as I am concerned, it is vital that rescue center managers have a mentality that is in tune with the idea of “rescue and rehabilitation” not “euthanasia”.

  2. Ignorance runs rampant again!
    She and the other IGS must belong to the same club. They spew the same garbage with no factual support. These are some really odd and close-minded people. I’ve come across some and, even when presented with factual data, they stand their ground. Some even say that the information is fabricated by cat lovers.
    There’s really no way to debate with people who dismiss researchers and experts as cat lovers.
    The only “expert” opinions they accept are those few that support their delusional system.

  3. Complete and utter rubbish is all I have to say on this subject. The feral colony who WV&D Cats Protection started helping last year are healthy and perfectly fine. Yet another person wanting to wipe out cats who they see as a “problem”

  4. Madalon and her associates should be euthanized. They do no good and are obsessed with death. She works with assumptions that fit her necrophile mentality and is blind to facts. Let her talk this way and she will continue to humiliate herself and the organization she works for. She would be outraged by my feral rescue Kiara Otana who won 3 CACs ( Certified Apt for Championship) at a show in Germany. The judge also commented on her sweet temperament.

  5. These are clearly just her views! They have no basis and added to this I’m sure that a trapped cat that is a sick as she states would not be neutered anyway, they would be humanely euthanised.

    How dare she make assumptions about the kind, caring people who work so hard to bring the feral population under control; at least they are trying to help. She should try getting of her presumtious ass and do something instead of spouting such rubbish!

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