Categories: feral cats

You can’t make laws to stop people feeding feral cats

It is impractical, for two reasons, to make laws which stop people feeding feral cats. Firstly, it is almost impossible to enforce such a law bearing in mind the manpower available in a police department to do the job and how they prioritise their workload. And many people feed feral cats at awkward times, at night for example. They do this to avoid being noticed by people who dislike cats and who object to it.

Ashtabula buildings. They are discussing feeding feral cats. Pictures in public domain.

The second reason is that an ordinance or law to stops people feeding feral cats is a law which stops people acting in a moral and kind manner. Laws should exist to achieve the opposite.

There are a lot of people in America who feel strongly compelled to take action when they see abandoned, skinny and starving stray and feral cats. They cannot walk by. Think how they would feel if they lived in a county or city were it was forbidden to feed stray and feral cats. There would be uproar despite the fact that there is a huge amount of disharmony and conflicting opinion on how best to deal with feral cats and whether or not to feed them.

One such disharmonious discussion is taking place in a city which is hard to pronounce in America: Ashtabula (ash-tə-BYEW-lə). There are people there who feed feral cats on other people’s property according to a local news report. There are many who object to it but there are others who argue that it’s the right thing to do. The ones who object want the council members to write a law which bans the feeding of feral cats on other people’s property.

The argument is that it’s okay to feed a feral cat on your property but not on someone else’s. And there are many people in that city who argue that there are more important things to deal with such as general drug addiction, the opioid addiction crisis and other problems directly affecting people.

The general consensus is, however, that the more irritating aspect of the presence of feral cats is that they rapidly grow in numbers. Therefore the discussion should turn to TNR programs which include feeding feral cats. If the council were so minded they could become involved in organising volunteers to carry out TNR programs across the city. This would deal with the most pressing problem which is seeing feral cat numbers grow and it would allow the city council to control, to a certain extent, how feral cats are dealt with while allowing volunteers to express their desire to help starving cats. It would be proactive and positive.

As I said at the beginning, it is unfair, immoral and impractical to write a law which bans sensitive and kind-hearted people from assisting feral cats which have been put into a position where they are starving because of human carelessness. That’s the crux of the matter and no mother how long and hard you argue about it, and slice and dice it, you come back to that starting point.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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