Barn cat program is a job agency for unemployed feral cats

I like the description of a feral cat barn relocation programme as akin to an unemployment agency or job center for cats. It’s a term used by Maria, an intern, in her article for Dallas (good article by the way). She takes it from Jeanne Saadi, the managing director of Mesquite Animal Services.

Mesquite Animal Services Barn Cat Program. Photo: Dallas News/Mesquite Animal Services

She is referring to Mesquite’s barn cat program. Mesquite residents can obtain a permit to trap feral cats inside the city limits says Jeanne Saadi. They get a trap on loan and the permit is valid for three weeks renewable on a telephone call.

The trapped cat is taking to the shelter where he or she is held for three days to make sure that they are not owned i.e. a domestic cat. The cats are checked out by veterinarian and spayed or neutered followed by the usual ear tipping as it is called.

The cat is then returned to the neighbourhood or in the case of Jared Walker relocated to a farm. Walker owns a 40-acre hay farm in Sulphur Springs. He’s been dealing with unwanted wildlife such as snakes and mice on his farm and up until now he’s been tackling the problem with chemicals, which I presume he means poisons to kill the animals. However, he much prefers a more cost-effective and safe alternative which means jobs for feral cats.

Walker says that he was concerned about the health of his dogs and his two-year-old nephew visiting the farm with poisons lying around and therefore adopting the cats was sensible and good for business too.

“I’m just giving them shelter and a little bit of food, and they save me in the long run a lot.”

Most feral cats trapped by Mesquite Animal Services are returned to where they came from but in 2019 about 24 out of 250 have been relocated through the barn cat program.

It’s another example of how there can be better outcomes for feral cats rather than simply killing them. The barn cat program is not only better for the cats but it is better for the community. The community’s social conscience is clear because they’re doing the right thing. They are do something humane and sensible rather than crudely killing feral cats, which is almost universally agreed to be cruel and an unsuccessful management method.

P.S. In the UK, Larry the cat living at the Prime Minister’s office and residence was selected from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home as a good mouser.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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