Saving Feral and Stray Cats in Florida; Please Help

by Geri Fowler
(Silver Springs,Fl)

At work I have taken care of feral/stray cats for 26 years. It was never a problem and our patrons enjoyed the cats. Some of the people even helped with donations of food or money. Many older people have told me there is a place in Heaven for me because of my compassion and concern for these cats.

Even the Animal Control people that stop in our parking lot to do paperwork or eat lunch or get a drink never said a word. One guy would pet the friendly stray we had there.

A guy living on the road behind the store lets his 2 pit bulls run. They have attacked the cats and our patrons and left messes all over our property.

About 8 weeks ago after asking this guy for over a year to keep his dogs penned I called Animal Control. Basically they did nothing except tell him his dogs had to be confined or leashed. The dogs still show up at our store, but not as often.

Well on April 8th an Animal Control worker came into my work place loudly wanting to know who called on the dogs. I answered. He very rudely told me the guy with the dogs made a counter complaint against me. He told me it was against the law to feed cats. He was going to fine me and have me arrested if I did not stop!

Feeding cats was more offensive than letting pit bulls run and harm people was the way this guy came off. The debate continued. He said he was going to trap and kill the cats. This is private property and illegal for Animal Control to be on unless invited. The handbook says all stray/feral cats are to be killed because they are not native to Florida.

Neither are most other animals here, the war is against cats specifically. I find this archaic and cruel, people here are angry. I’m still in tears.


Saving Feral and Stray Cats in Florida; Please Help to Feral cats

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Saving Feral and Stray Cats in Florida; Please Help

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Apr 25, 2011 The Cats
by: Geri

Early in December 2010 I managed to catch the remaining cats. They are here with me now,living in my spare room.They are neutered and have received their shots.They are also very friendly now.Love does conquer all.

Aug 21, 2010 To Geri
by: Ruth

You are obviously doing really good work with those cats and I admire you very much for that.
How sad that some people have nothing better to do than critise your kindness and offer you no help either.
This world needs more people like you !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

Aug 21, 2010 About My Store Cats
by: Geri

Statistics on cats killing birds are from varied sources,one was from Alleycat Allies,of which I am a member.They are too backed up to help.Local agencies do not want feral cats,most of them will trap and kill just like the county.I have reached the point where I can touch them and they follow me around.Next I must get to the point where I can pick up the cats and put them in carriers for spaying.My vet has neutered over 40 cats for me over the years,he does not mind ferals.After that I will let them live in my yard as they will be safe there and I can monitor them.

Aug 20, 2010 Gina you’re a kind woman – I hope you get the support you need
by: Michele S.

Geri I feel very sorry for you. What a cruel and ludicrous rule that says “all stray/feral cats are to be killed because they are not native to Florida”. I’m sure there are lots of species non-native to Florida (including the white man) that are not facing the same persecution as cats. How cruel are. Having cared for colonies of stray and feral cats myself, I can understand your anguish and heartache. They are deserving of our compasson because it’s down to the callousness nature of humans that these poor cats have to live that way in the first place. Have you been in touch with any local rescue organisations as they may be able to offer assistance with getting these cats sterilised and tell you if the man from Animal Control is making hollow threats which legally he cannot enforce. I do hope that someone is able to offer the support you and the cats need. Maybe the people at your workplace would sign a petition in support of the cats and their right to live on private property?

Mick: You don’t quote the source of your statistic, but it may interest you to know that the Royal Society for the Protection of birds state on their web site “Despite the large numbers of birds killed, there is no scientific evidence that predation by cats in gardens is having any impact on bird populations UK-wide. This may be surprising, but many millions of birds die naturally every year, mainly through starvation, disease, or other forms of predation. There is evidence that cats tend to take weak or sickly birds.” They go on to say that loss of habitat and food resources are mainly responsible for the decline of many species of birds. Yes, some cats kill for sport but so do millions of humans. Besides which, not all cats are interested in catching birds and those that do it for sport lose interest as they get older. They’d rather spend the day lazing around. However cats which have no other food source find it necessary to continue hunting into old age as a matter of survival. So I strongly disagree that Gina is making the situation worse by feeding these cats. If anything, knowing that they have a regular food source will make them less inclined to hunt. Keep in mind that humans are the only creature responsible for the extinction of numerous species. We’re meant to share this planet but we’re far too greedy for that and want all the resources for ourselves.

Aug 20, 2010 Can’t understand it at all…………
by: Leah (England)

I really cannot understand it; cats are really 2nd class citizens in America aren’t they? especially ferals. As if its not bad enough that these poor cats are dumped uneutered by humans in the first place? I then hear of a stupid law that states they can’t be fed! It sounds like someone is saying ‘don’t feed the bears’ at a picnic! For goodness sake give these cats a break! They are everyones problem! Why would you agree that they should be terrorised and left to starve? Why? It makes no sense!!
Imagine if one of your cats got out. If you couldn’t find them they too would be feral. Would you want to think of them on the streets starving, being hunted by dogs or being taken care of by a loving kind soul like Gerri?

Aug 20, 2010 What the ….???
by: Barbara

Hey Mick, pull your neck in, this woman is doing her best for these poor cats that have been betrayed by humans. So what if they eat birds? It’s regrettable but it’s nature, they have to eat something, to save the birds and bunnies you’d have the cats starve to death…hmmm not so very compassionate then are you?
Oh and by the way, are YOU vegetarian or do YOU eat animals yourself? If so then to use your own words STOP eating meat now, then maybe you’ll be entitled to an opinion about feeding starving animals.

Barbara avatar

Aug 20, 2010 Too true
by: Fran

Yes Ruth I agree with you.
Mick look to yourself before you criticise someone as caring as Geri is.
Do you do anything to help any poor cats chucked out by uncaring people to fend for themselves?
Would you watch them starve to death or to be savaged by vicious dogs?
Do YOU eat chicken and turkey?
You shouldn’t you know,YOU don’t HAVE to eat birds to SURVIVE.

Aug 20, 2010 Truths for Mick
by: Ruth

People kill far more birds and do far more damage to birds by ruining their habitats, than feral cats ever could.
They are feral in the first place because people abandoned them and they have no choice but to live rough and to live they have to eat.
Hungry cats don’t kill for fun, they kill to survive.
The only species to kill for fun is HUMAN.
The ever breeding selfish species who take over more and more space on this planet and leave less space and food for other species.
To criticise Geri for her compassion is very unfair. Would you have her let those cats starve or to be killed by those pit bulls which should be under control?
One person alone can’t take on the trapping and neutering of cats.
Thank goodness for people like Geri who care about other living feeling beings.

Aug 19, 2010 Horrible
by: Mick

What you are doing is the worst thing possible. I have 3 lovely house cats and have rescued more. Cats will breed and make new cute little kitties even before the previous litter has been weened. If you are not trapping and sterilizing the cats you are causing major issues. Cats will kill even if they are well fed. This will eventually kill off all the birds and tiny critters that can not fend off cats. This includes rabbits, birds, and reptiles that are a natural resource. It is estimated that in certain states 1.8 million native birds are killed by feral cats, or free ranging cats. STOP what you are doing and do the right thing. I know what it is to have a soft heart but cats are one of the only animals that kill for enjoyment. They will kill just to play. Keep that in mind and research what impacts feral or free ranging cats have on your local wildlife.

Apr 30, 2010 How sad .
by: Michele

I am so very sorry for you and the poor Cats .I so know how you feel .We are haveing the same thing going on with our Ferals ..But its the Health Dept. We have taken care of them for many years .We have Trap and Fixed over 60 cats over the years ..Now we have about 15 left .If you only have 3 I would Email all the Rescues around
and see if they can help you..As for Animal Control they are not any Animals friend ..Will be praying for you and the cats ..

Apr 30, 2010 To Geri
by: Ruth

A suggestion from Jo’s blog to contact:

if nothing has been sorted yet.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Apr 29, 2010 A new blog about this case
by: Ruth

link not functioning. Deleted.

Jo is spreading the word but I hope something has been sorted for those cats by now Geri.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Apr 26, 2010 my55cats
by: Diana

I would like to help! I have been harmed by Animal Services and Animal Control and the Sheriff’s Department here in The Animal Killing Fields of Marion County Florida!

Apr 14, 2010 Saving Feral and Stray Cats in Florida
by: Judy

The other you can do is to call the local news stations – all of them. See if they will do a story.

Are any of the cats or kittens able to be adopted?? If you could get some inside and socialize them so they are friendly you could get a rescue group to take them or find homes for them. That is what I have done with some I feed in Orlando. That creep is going to sick his dogs on the cats on purpose or poison them or hurt or kill them some other way.

Apr 14, 2010 Thinking of you
by: Ruth

Thank you so much Judy and thank you my dear friend Jo in Florida for knowing who to ask for help.
I hope and pray you sort something out, please let us know.
All of you who love and help cats in such difficult circumstances deserve medals !!!
I can only imagine how hard it must be.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Apr 13, 2010 I Can Be Reached….
by: Anonymous

I thank all of you who would like to help. There are no feral/stray rescue groups here that I can find in Marion County. Also any vet care has to come out of pocket which is now difficult for me as this owner took over the business last July and knocked all of us back to minimum wage.He is a nice man from India,but the loss of income is a real problem. He pays for the cats’ food and does not understand why the county is doing this over three cats.He does not comprehend such cruelty without cause,neither do I. I’m trying to put together a petition,but I am a bit of a basket case these days.When I think about the cats all over the neighborhood being swept up in this insanity I am overwhelmed.You are not even allowed to have your own companion cat in your yard.And I’m slipping around at 4:30 am to feed the 3 cats at work without being caught.The fact this law only applies to cats is so painful.
My number is 352-289-4051. Not after 10pm please I have to be up by 3am.

by: Judy

Is there a phone number where I can call Geri?? My number is 407-886-4372. I thought we could talk & maybe help find a solution. Read what I wrote at the bottom about the State Attorney. All of this is so UPSETTING!

Can you call the police? I would at least report the danger these dogs are to the cats & people. He is breaking the law!!! But, of course that creep that owns the dogs will kill the cats. You have to get those acts out of there. There are so many disgusting cat haters and cat killers out there. There are some bad people at Anmial Control that hate cats. I am so sick of these people getting by with letting mean dogs run & killing cats. Animal Control should have done something.

Can the owner of the business do anything about this creep? Since it is her property.

Is there a TNR program in Silver Springs?

Someone I ran into recently told me something that is worth trying. He does cat rescue & I was asking what could be done to help someone in a situation kind of like this. He said to go to the State’s Attorney’s office and file a complaint with everything going on. They will send a letter to this creeps that might scare them enough to leave the cats alone. It worked for him with a situation. You could get to know the people at the office & they may be even more help, especially if they are animal lovers.

I like the idea of the owner of the business to adopt them. Don’t know if that will help though.
Call me, I am in Orlando.

Apr 13, 2010 so sorry
by: kathy

Im so sorry to hear of your dilema. But dont worry one of these dogs will get out of control and actually hurt someone then these dog people will be sorry. Where I live there is a leash law but it also applies to cats. So when I see a dog at large I dont push the issue unless it looks aggresive, like a Rotweiller. I live in a small neighborhood so most of the dogs are usually local and I pretty much live in a dog/cat neighborhood so theres not much of a problem. That guy really makes me angry. Cats are such a tormented creature. I heard on a preview for a show thats going to be on that in the past ages dogs and cats were once piled and set on fire to amuse the royalty in europe. Once a king even lit the fire. King Henry the 8th had the local swan killed and filled with pudding for his amusement. Sometimes Im ashamed to be human. Goodluck with yor dilema, Im praying for you and your poor cats.

Apr 13, 2010 To Geri
by: Ruth

My friend in Florida is hoping to contact someone active in Animal Rescue there.
Don’t despair Geri, some of us do care and she’ll go all out to help you if she can !!

Apr 13, 2010 To Geri
by: Ruth

I’m not surprised at what animal control think about cats !It seems a lot of people including the AVMA and some USA vets think cats are worthless and second class citizens to dogs.
I couldn’t believe it when I found out that a lot of cats are still routinely declawed there for convenience sake.
Many people are very uneducated about cats too and their treatment of them is horrifying to us in our country where we have Pet Welfare laws and our cats are part of our family and feral cats cared for by many of us.
Can the police not help ?
I’m hoping a contact in Florida can maybe suggest something, I’ll get in touch with her directly as she may not have seen your post.
I feel so sorry for you and those cats and helpless how to help you.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Apr 12, 2010 Animal Control Laws
by: Geri

According to the handbook,the guy with the pit bulls has broken nearly every rule in the book and still nothing was done. There are “dangerous”dog laws here but they do not seem to enforce them. The war is on cats. According to Animal Control they are “useless” animals.

Apr 12, 2010 stray cats

Remember Europe! Back when people were even more ignorant,they killed off the cats,so rats and mice multiplied against the people and spread the plague,killing most of Europe’s population.Cats do an important service to people and we in turn must help them.

It is a shame some neighbors are so selfish. Pitbulls can be very dangerous to people and should be in a pen with an enclosed top.Doesn’t Florida have a law concerning that breed?

Apr 12, 2010 Terrible !
by: Ruth

Geri that is terrible ! I’m sorry I can’t help as I’m in England but I will pass this link onto all my USA contacts and put it on our anti declaw group to see if anyone over there has any ideas how to help you.
You deserve a medal for your kindness instead of being hounded by some power crazy official on the side of an ignorant man letting dangerous dogs run free.
My thoughts are with you, stay strong for those cats !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Apr 12, 2010 Appalled
by: Michael

I am appalled at this. It is mean, nasty, silly and cruel of the pit bull owner and Animal Control. It is also illogical by implication to condone the pit bull terrier owner’s behavior while stopping humane work in helping animals in need. This shows the illogical, and frankly sometimes mad, nature of the world we live in.

I would fight this, Geri. Stray cats are difficult to differentiate from feral cats and stray cats are someone’s ‘property’. There must be strict rules on destroying someone elses property.

Is it possible for the store owner or your workplace owner to formally declare that he has adopted all the cats on his property? That would make them domestic cats which must put then outside the definition of ‘stray’ and ‘feral’.

You can then have them, God willing, rehomed or relocated or at least find some way to protect them from this ghastly animal control person.

Animal control should take a sensitive view and use discretion to make practical decisions. That has clearly not happened.

Michael Avatar

14 thoughts on “Saving Feral and Stray Cats in Florida; Please Help”

  1. Here are some links for organizations near you. Look around the sites, find phone numbers, and call. Tell them your dilemma and ask for help. If they can’t help directly, they may be able to tell you who can.

    • I have a reply to you but is awaiting moderation because I posted some links. You will be able to see it eventually.
      Please start making phone calls tomorrow. You will find the numbers when you go to the sites I posted.
      Be relentless.
      I’ll check back here tomorrow.

      • Thanks Dee. The comment is published and was held by the computer program (software) because it had links and the program thinks that links = spam. Thanks again Dee. You are a sweety.

  2. Kathleen, take a deep breath.
    Pick up the phone and call any vet or rescue group in the yellow pages and ask them where you can find the nearest animal group that is practicing TNR (trap, neuter, return). They are your best option as they may be willing to place your five in one or two of their colonies.
    I’m not sure where you are in Florida, but I may be able to better point you in the right direction if I knew. It would be helpful if I knew north, central, south. I am in central Florida.

    • Thank-you for your note.I have trying shelter in Florida an Georgia.My nearest shelter said they may have to close due to funding,than the cats will be killed..My vet Told me that the SAFE ANIMAL SHELTER are not a place to put your pets ”You need to ask around”! That is my delema. I have no where else to find.I feel like a murdera.This is to hard for me to handle,Thanks Kathleen

  3. I do not have a Camera.It has been broke my granchildren,sorry !I was going to take them to the VET on Thursday to be put to sleep. I have been trying for one year,posting signs, putting them in newspapers,even going door to door.My heart is brecking.I have never been so sorry.I love them like my children.That is hard to believe since I am going to do this,I cannot afford them.That is I know to say,Kathleen

    • I am buying a new camera today.Michael do you think posting these pictures will Help?? WHAT ARE THE ODDS,Thank you.My phone number if you need me is 904-272-2829

      • Hi Kathleen. Pictures always help (I think they are essential) so yes….but whether this website will get the job done is another matter. It may because we get quite a lot of hits (top 5 in the world cat website) and we can spread the word. I have some good networkers. The odds of getting them rehomed from this site is probably fairly small (not much of a chance) if I am being brutally honest but there is a chance.

        I wouldn’t buy a camera just for this reason unless it is a cheap one.

    • Kathleen, just hang in there a bit longer, please. I think if you put them to sleep it may hurt you.

      Dee in Florida has given you some good links. Try those and if you can get some pictures we can publish a page and I’ll get the network going.

      I ask Elisa Black-Taylor to comment too. She does not live in Florida but she networks well and may be able to help.

  4. I have five feral cats in my home. I have had them for years however I need to find homes for them..I am concerned if I take them to a safe shelter they will be to sleep.I have been trying for a year.I need help,PLEASE.I brought them in because they were starving and kept looking in the windows of my home.I felt so sorry for them I took all of them in. PLEASE CAN SOMEONE HELP ME OUT???????????

    • Kathleen. You are a good woman and I feel sorry for you and the cats. Let’s try and help. If you write a bit more about your cats and add some photos and tell us where you are in another comment, I’ll create a full-blown article and you may then get a visitor seeing your cats and offer to take one or two.

      So, please tell us some more and if you can add some pictures. Take care.


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