There’s an interesting story on the Internet regarding a group of people who feed stray and feral cats in the UK. They feed them in a back alley where businesses throw their rubbish including waste food.
There are piles of cardboard boxes, black sacks and refuse bins in the alleyway. I suppose some stray cats hang around this area because there is some food there but as it happens the volunteers feed the cats and they do so carefully. For example, they feed them out of containers and boxes so that they don’t leave a mess.
The local authority has complained about this. They say that feeding stray cats attracts rats. One of the volunteers, Andy Richards, who manages the cats and Friends of the Cats is angry at the council’s assertions.
Mr Richards said:
“I’ve been feeding the stray cats for over two years now. We feed them out of containers and boxes so they don’t leave a mess, however, the council binmen have taken our containers away after saying they’re attracting rats. I find this ludicrous as, generally, where you see cat you don’t see rats.”
There are complaints about rats in the alleyway referred to but Mr Richards makes the point that the eating establishments on the road dump food in the alleyway. He says that there are big piles of food sitting next to the overflowing bins which attracts the rats.
Mr Richards says that continuing to take away the feeding boxes that he and his colleagues put down will deter the cats which will lead to an increase in rats.
Mr Richards said that after they re-home several stray cats from another area (Charter Street) the local residents noticed an increase in rats. He says that this is evidence that the presence of cats deters rats.
The local authority (Hyndburn Council) is adamant that any food left out will attract rats and they are insistent that volunteers for Friends of the Cats can only put down food within “the property boundary”. I presume that they mean on private property rather than in public places.
This is an age-old debate about whether feeding stray and feral cats attracts wildlife and in this case rats. In this instance, it would seem that common sense dictates that the council should speak to the businesses in the area to ensure that they do not throw waste food in bin bags into the alley and instead provide them with more proper protective containers as seen in the photograph. The root cause of the problem is the council’s failure to either (a) provide enough large waste containers and/or (b) collect waste frequently enough.
Source: Lancashire Telegraph