UK City Lawmakers Demonstrate Ignorance in Banning Feeding of Feral Cats

The UK seems to be following some city councils in the USA. The councillors (the lawmakers) of Nottingham have decided to ban the feeding of a colony of feral cats in a place called Woodlane Gardens “with immediate effect”. If the cat lovers refuse to comply they’ll be fined.

The people who feed the cats were sent a letter from the community protection officer Nick Loizou. The reasoning behind the ban as stated by Mr Loizou is laughable. He said that the cats are a “source of fatal and non-fatal diseases”, citing rabies and ringworm.

Feral cats of Nottingham, UK
Feral cats of Nottingham, UK
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Everyone in the UK knows that rabies was eradicated from all UK animals (except a rare strain in bats) years ago – actually it was eradicated in 1922. Feral cats do not carry rabies. Feral cats are not a source of fatal diseases in the UK.

As for non-fatal diseases there are several zoonotic diseases such a cat scratch fever, ringworm and toxoplasmosis to name the best known but ringworm for example is a very low level “disease”. It not something to be really concerned about and you have to be in contact with the cat to get it from a cat. The chances of that for the average person is negligible. Most people don’t even see feral cats in the UK. I don’t consider feral cats a health hazard.

Feral cats of Nottingham, UK
Feral cats of Nottingham, UK

The major point is this: not feeding feral cats does not really solve problems of public health unless the city council think that by banning feeding them the cats will die. They won’t in my opinion.

At least when they are fed by colony caretakers the cats can be neutered and spayed, which will get rid of the cats eventually, provided the neutering is carried out consistently and with due diligence.

The cat caretakers are more sensible and practical. They want the council to work with them to run a more effective TNR program.

Denise Roberts wisely and correctly says:

“I don’t think they started out feral. A cat’s owner died and it became a stray and since then the problem has spiraled out of control.

“They’re harmless. They don’t trust humans and they don’t go near them. They only way to stop this getting worse is to catch them and neuter them.”

Lesley Martin (a dog lover) said:

“Fining people for feeding them is not the right thing to do. The council needs to work with residents and even animal charities to come up with a solution.”

The general mood is that the council’s letter is ridiculous, which it is. The truth of the matter is that the so called community protection officer lacks sufficient knowledge to make a proper decision on feral cats. He should set up a meeting with the colony caretakers and work out a proper, humane program to deal with the cats which satisfies the community at large.

Of course, there will be people in the community who want to be rid of the cats. It is always like this. However, their desires can be satisfied while at the same time treating the cats humanely. These are often domestic cats turned feral. They were someone’s pet at one time.

Councillor Nicola Heaton says:

“It is important that we continue to work with citizens to tell them that while they may feel inclined to care for these animals, there are clear reasons why they shouldn’t do so.”

This is a reference, I believe, to the idea that feeding feral cats leads to more feral cats. I am not sure that is true if feeding is part of a well organised TNR.

The UK is reciting the age old argument: does feeding feral cats as part of TNR work for in the interests of animal welfare and the citizens of the community. I believe that it does. The council should study this matter further and reconsider their decision.

Source: Animal lovers face fines for feeding feral cats in St Ann’s | Nottingham Post

7 thoughts on “UK City Lawmakers Demonstrate Ignorance in Banning Feeding of Feral Cats”

  1. If these feral & domestic cats walk around hungry, they will become very ill and therefore more susceptible to catching colds , FIV and many OTHER Diseases. then they will become a real health hazard to all the other cats within the colony, and possibly humans with a low immune system. Keeping them healthy and having a program in place to neuter and spay is the answer, with followup to make sure they do not develop any infections after their surgeries.
    In addition: starvation causes a very long and painful death.Suddenly denying them food if they are used to being fed by humans is an extremely cruel act.
    Eva say’s_

    • Thank you Eva. That was my first reaction. Cutting off food and leaving the colony in place means the cats will starve. As we know the word feral includes ex house pets that probably have negligible hunting skills or they may although semi wild have always relied on humans to supplement their food. Not feeding the problem won’t make them go away.

  2. Oh for Pete’s sweet sake! I thought the British were smarter than that. But there are stupid humans all over the world, so why should they be different.

  3. It’s Deja Vous.
    I can guess that, because ferals were uncommon for so long in the UK, there was no thought of enforcement of a feeding ban.
    But, it seems now that the UK is in the beginnings of what we went through (and, still do in many areas)some years ago.
    Caretakers had to fight constantly, attending public meetings, try to educate the ignorant, being fined, and even being jailed for some. The road to sanity is hard, but we can see some light now.
    I hope that the UK has an easier, softer path than we’ve had.

    • You are absolutely correct, Dee. It is a case of educating the city councillors. What they need is some experienced feral cat caretakers like yourself educating them as to how best to deal with feral cats. In this country, as you state, feral cats are not an issue in my opinion but for some reason they have become an issue in Nottingham, which surprises me to be honest.

  4. How about banning the feeding of the humans who refuse to alter their pets or dump them out the door and abandon them when they stop being cute little kittens or have a human caused behavior issue.
    The human race needs a TNR program.

    • Yes, I’m afraid that City Councils can be very narrowminded, small-minded, and not enlightened in their thinking. They see the cat as the problem when as you so rightly state the problem is the human. No doubt they have made no mention of how to tackle the root cause of the problem, the human, who is careless in looking after their cats.


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