Coronavirus pandemic will cause increase in feral cat numbers

Vet with cat. Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Although there are some positive consequences in respect of animal welfare in our new world under the Covid-19 virus, there is another negative aspect of this viral crisis; it is claimed that feral cat numbers will ‘explode’ because TNR will dry up due to social isolation rules and because veterinary clinics have stopped carrying out spay and neuter operations.

As I understand it this restriction to veterinary services applies to the UK and at least in parts of the USA. As far as I can tell, the AVMA (the vets’ American association) does not state that vets must only provide emergency services. It appears that it is down to each clinic to make their own decisions while complying with recommendations on minimising Covid-19 transmission. What are your experiences on this – please comment.

Due to social distancing measures animals should only be seen in emergencies or where urgent assessment is needed to avoid an emergency in the future.

No TNR and no neutering is a double negative whammy. The executive director of Paws for Hope Animal Foundation, Kathy Powelson said, in an interview with Georgia Straight, that TNR (trap-neuter-release) programs in British Columbia, Canada had stopped because of Covid-19, as many other aspects of normal live has also stopped.

She is concerned that there will be an increase in stray and feral cats because there is no spaying and neutering. Her views are supported by Greater Victoria Animal Crusaders who are becoming more concerned about growing feral cat numbers.

Also it is the season for cats to breed and produce offspring. A time when there is usually more pressure on animal shelters. But all the norms have been torn up. Shelters are not functioning normally. One is empty.

Note: Georgia Straight is a free Canadian weekly news and entertainment newspaper published in a large tabloid format in Vancouver, British Columbia, by the Vancouver Free Press Publishing Corp.

P.S. We need to discuss the animals in our lives for a while because 99% of the focus is on humans. The companion animals and those that should be companion animals (ferals) are the innocent victims of human misdeeds and excess. Arguably they deserve more help than us.

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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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