The Portofino Bay. Photo by Stuck in Customs (Flickr)
This is a tasty debate. For me the answer is an unequivocal, yes, of course, because it is probably the only sensible and fair way forward. But for Universal Orlando Resorts in Orlando, Florida, the decision is to get rid of them. The feral cats have been around for years under a company policy that favored animal friendliness.
My take on this is that the business is not doing well enough and being outcompeted by Disney and there is pressure on management to do something. I am guessing that this is what is happening. Perhaps new management came in and changed the policy. The official reason is that the Florida Department of Health has told them that feral cats pose a health risk to the hotels’ clients. Sounds like a cliché?
If the feral cats were a health hazard to clients they would have been removed ages ago under health regulations wouldn’t they? It could be argued that the cats support a healthier environment in getting rid of rodents. Up until now they had decided to do a good job caring for feral cats, making it a positive feature, it seems to me – there was a first class TNR program in place at the Portofino Bay Hotel, for example.
It appears that Universal Orlando Resorts are being particularly heavy handed which compounds the anger and upset felt by local supporters of the humane treatment of feral cats. The cats are being trapped and left in the traps without sustenance for long periods under hot conditions. This is causing some cats to self harm in trying to get out. Employees are forced to comply with what seems to be an unpopular policy within the company.
Hotels are places where feral cats will congregate because they are places where there is a steady supply of food. Food supplies are the single biggest driver of cats, domestic or feral, to form groups and become social animals.
How will the company keep new feral cats from forming new groups? They will need an ongoing trapping policy, won’t they? When you remove feral cats from a food source, invariable new cats turn up to fill the vacuum.
The company says that the trapped cats are being taken to animal services for rehoming. The concerned public say it is likely that the cats will be put down at a shelter. This is the usual end result of removing feral cats under such circumstances.
Feral cats are not a significant health hazard. I would bet my bottom dollar that no clients for years have been hurt in any way by these feral cats.
Their removal is backfiring on Universal Orlando Resorts in Orlando, Florida as it is proving to be a negative PR exercise.
Do you think feral cats should be allowed on hotel premises? If not how do you keep them out permanently – a large brick wall ten feet high around the entire estate?