Marin feral cat population is being managed properly

This is an example of how a local feral cat population can be properly managed. It’s happening in Marin County, USA. Janet Williams, the co-founder and president of Marin Friends of Ferals, explains what she means by feral cats being managed properly.

Janet has worked with feral cats in and around Marin for 14 years. She volunteers with the Marin Friends of Ferals. They are partners with Marin Humane and they have a Career Cat Program for feral cats.

Marin Friends of Ferals -Career Cat Program for feral cats
Marin Friends of Ferals -Career Cat Program for feral cats
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

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They run the usual TNR program and they have trapped nearly 3,000 feral cats. They live in managed colonies. They receive daily meals from 30 volunteers who currently feed around 125 sterilised feral cats.

The programme recently relocated its 650th feral cat. What she means is that they are relocated to properties for rodent control. Residents who want to control rodents but don’t want to hire a monthly exterminator realise the benefits.

Of course, some cats are better hunters than others but whether a cat is successful or not at hunting rodents, the residents tell Janet that they notice a huge reduction in rodents on their properties even before the cats are released from their acclimatisation cages. This is something I’ve always said, namely, that the presence of cats deters rodents. In the same way that the presence of Tasmanian devils deters the presence of feral cats.

Janet restates what needs restating namely that trapping and killing these cats is not only ineffective at controlling their breeding but it is impossible accomplish and perhaps most importantly it is inhumane. Also if you rely on the mass killing of feral cats to control them there would be uproar, it would be impractical, it would be politically unacceptable and ultimately it would not work. Look at how Australia is struggling to control feral cats by mass killing. They are failing.

You don’t need to euthanise feral cats by the thousands. Effective and well managed TNR programs do work. Janet says that she has the statistics to prove it. I would urge detractors of TNR programs to contact her to discuss how to do it.

Since starting the program their data confirms “a dwindling population when sterilised cats are allowed to die of natural attrition and not through euthanization or by starving them”.

Further, the feral cats of Marin are not suffering because they are managed properly. They receive shelter, daily meals, veterinary care and visits from the volunteers monitor their health and welfare. This is surely the way to manage feral cats. The whole program is underpinned by a ethical approach.

Such a well-managed organisation as founded by Janet Williams, in partnership with others, can make a positive impact in a compassionate manner.

Source: Marin Independent Journal

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

8 thoughts on “Marin feral cat population is being managed properly”

  1. Well managed, large scale TNR works. Stabilising a feral population is a long hard slog. The determination and hard work of those dedicated, skilled colony caretakers is remarkable. Big props to every one of them.

  2. Please explain to us how sterilizing just 3,000 cats in 14 years is helping to reduce Marin County’s estimated 42,000 feral cats. This is not including the thousands of owned and unsterilized indoor/outdoor cats that are the very source of all feral cats.

    She would have to sterilize over 85% of 42,000 cats (35,700 cats) in under 4 months (one breeding cycle) to only halt their population growth, not reduce it. Thereby keeping 42,000 unwanted feral cats in the county, killing all the wildlife while there, into perpetuity. She would have to sterilize more than 85% every 4 months to start to reduce cat populations.

    More cats are being born in one day than all that she has sterilized in 14 years.

    You sure do love having the wool pulled over your eyes by the most blatantly manipulative lies and simplest to disprove claims.

    1. From where did you get your stats that there are 42,000 feral cats in Marin County? Is there a census for cats?? It would seem that the moral to this story is that in whatever part of Marin Co. the feral/community cat problem is being “managed” humanely and well by the Marin Friends of Ferals, their model of TNR with volunteers to care for the resulting “colonies” has been successful and that this model of management needs to be expanded to other areas of the county and could also be implemented elsewhere.

      1. One slight problem. You’ve already tapped-out (used up) all the human resources in that county that are the least bit interested in trapping, sterilizing, and maintaining a hoard of outdoor cats. Otherwise you’d already have more volunteers and more money. On top of that it costs an average of $140 (transport, supplies, man-hours, vetting, etc.) just to put ONE cat into a TNR colony (minus the $15,000 per cat it will take to feed and vet each cat during its shortened lifetime). Cough-up 35,700 X $140 = $4,998,000.00 to get TNR to start to slow population growth. Do all this in just 4 months or you’re only wasting everyone’s time and money. Then and only then you will be believed. Then throw $15,000 X 35,700 = $535.5 million more at all your cats for the next 10 years. Oh, and don’t forget that you have to sterilize way more than that every year if you want to stop paying out that much into perpetuity. You know, to actually reverse cat-population growth, like you all love to claim that that is what TNR is for. (Do note these costs are just for ONE county, and not a very densely populated one at that. The average cat populations for most counties hovers around 100,000 feral cats per county today. Not including the thousands of owned and unsterilized indoor/outdoor cats that create all your feral cats.)

        Did you add in the costs of how much land you’ll have to buy (and pay taxes on) to keep these colonies of 42,000 cats on your own lands?

        You’d better get your little donation-campaign shoes a-shufflin’. You’re not even making a dent in the problem. You’re only making the problem worse by encouraging everyone to abandon their cats while 39,000 cats in that county are still breeding out of control. Why shouldn’t people who no longer want their cat not just throw it at that lonely lady on the roadside with the bags of free kitty-kibble? No harm by throwing another cat outdoors for her so she can feel special about her lonely life. She’s more than happy to find another one to “save” (while she whines about it). It gives her life a reason for being. Everyone is actually doing that lonely lady a huge favor by giving her another unwanted cat so she can use it to feel special about her unwanted life at long last.

        I obtain my stats of estimated cat populations from the very same place that HSUS, ASPCA, and Best Friends get their stats. Is that not good enough for you?

        1. You criticise TNR with dubious figures but have no viable alternative. Killing? There is no way that can work on a mass scale and you know it. So what’s the solution clever boy?

          1. Hunted to extinction always works. It even worked on the prolific and hard to eradicate Rocky Mountain Locust that used to darken half the skies of N. America at one time. But a simple 50-cent per bushel bounty on them made them extinct in no time flat. It’ll work even faster on a species that breeds even less rapidly and is even easier to find–like cats. No animal has ever been “trapped to extinction”, that’s why the phrase known on every continent is “hunted to extinction”. You simply cannot trap cats fast enough to kill them (the very reason that trap & kill fails) nor even trap them fast enough to sterilize them–yet another reason for the consistent failure of all TNR programs across the planet. No trapping method on earth is as fast as cats breed (3 to 4 times faster than any native cat species anywhere), as fast as they learn to out-adapt to any trapping method, nor as fast as irresponsible pet owners dump their unwanted cats outdoors. Any method dependent on trapping cats is doomed to fail before you even start. But hunted to extinction certainly works. On ANY species that it is applied to. This most certainly includes cats.

            Granted, you won’t approve this post because you are so afraid of the real world and now deeply fearing your own rapidly impending death, but that’s reality. Deal with it.

            And pray-tell, why do you claim my figures are dubious? Do you have better ones to disprove them? I took them right from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. HSUS, ASPCA and Pest-Friends. They are also the ones who added-up all the costs for each TNR’ed cat–running from $120 per cat to as high as $180 per cat. I used a low-ball average of those. Are you saying all that they claim is just as equally dubious?

            1. I have explained why hunting to extinction is a non-starter in earlier comments. It’s your alternative to TNR and it’s worse because it is inhumane.


    2. This is successful locally. If it was extended it would be successful on a larger scale. That’s the point. Your plan – mass killing – is inhumane, impractical, politically unacceptable and it would not work anyway.

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