Hokey Pokey

Memphis Animal Services says the reason the webcam shows workers poking sticks into so many cages in the cat ward is that they contain feral cats. I have questions.

1. Why is MAS holding so many feral cats when the shelter has no TNR program in place? Are all these cats simply being poked with sticks held in cages for 3 days and then killed?  Can’t MAS do better than that?

2. Are these feral cats for adoption? If not, why are they being showcased in a ward where adopters look for pets? MAS kills 16,000 pets a year – can’t they make a better effort to get every adoptable cat they have in front of visitors? Why no cats on Petfinder – is the entire shelter full of only feral cats?

3. If all these cats are feral and the workers can not place their hands in the cages for fear of injury, why are kiddies allowed to roam around this ward? Is it ok if they stick their hands in these cages?

Leave a comment


  1. db

     /  March 23, 2011

    Hmmmm – good questions! I’ll be waiting for some answers.

  2. Donna Lake

     /  March 23, 2011

    what does sticks have to do with anything?

  3. Erica

     /  March 23, 2011

    This is just strange…you posted a blog about all the questions I JUST was asking on the blog about the poke sticks! Can’t wait to hear any responses….I also noted that the area had MANY people wandering around in it yesterday – even the kiddos that we all know love to stick their hands in the cages to pet the kitties. Talk about stressing a cat out! They don’t even keep them in a quiet secluded area away from all the nonsense!

    Using poke sticks to protect the workers while cleaning the cages…how’s that work for them when they kill them???

  4. mikken

     /  March 23, 2011

    Clearly ALL cats get closed into their boxes for cage cleaning, feral or not. It’s another lazy step on the workers’ part – like not moving dogs out of cages for cleaning (even though we have banks of empty runs and *gasp* leashes where one worker could take a dog for a quickie stroll while the other cleans his cage).

    At least the cats are getting seen by the public and have a chance at being adopted.

    • What if the cat is not in the box as the worker approaches to clean the cage? How do they maneuver the cat into the box – via the stick?

      • mikken

         /  March 23, 2011

        Yep. Poke cat with stick to make it go into the box. Not only upsets the tame cats, but has the possibility of spreading disease to every cat. But it’s soooooo much easier than actually handling the cat. Just like it’s sooooo much easier to hose down the dog cages with them inside.

  5. Morgana

     /  March 23, 2011

    Totally unacceptable – all of it, for whatever
    reason(s). What can we all do about this?

  6. Tonya

     /  March 23, 2011

    Again-what the #$%^&? Oh yeah the public’s fault for not spay/neuter the cats right? This is a disgrace and another example of shelter’s not doing enough and no accountablity.

  7. Anne

     /  March 23, 2011

    yeah- i’m confused that they say they’re feral cats (but they clearly appear to be adoption wards with today’s pics).
    my organization does not have a TNR program- luckily we actually get very few ferals as we refer them to organizations that do have TNR
    but when we are housing a feral (for euthanasia)- we don’t clean the cage. i mean- the cat is stressed as is- it’s not going to eat, drink, or use the litterbox- it’s just going to stay cowering in the back of the cage waiting for an opportunity to bolt. Just leave the cat be until you are euthanizing it or releasing it. it’s like a special kind of torture to force handling on feral cats

    (and i don’t believe those cats are feral as most of those cage doors were wide open during the stick procedure)

    • Erica

       /  March 23, 2011

      I noticed the open cage doors as well…some VERY close, if not right next to, the cages where the doors were kept closed while poking. So they are housing ferals in the same area as potential adoptables…wouldn’t that increase the chance of spreading possible illness to the other cats? (Well, besides the problem that they aren’t sterilizing the poke stick in between pokings that is…unless they have a hidden bottle of alcohol that I’m missing.)

  8. Looking forward to hearing them answer those questions.

  9. Some tame cats act like feral cats when lost. I am glad that all the cats can be viewed by people in case they are looking for their lost house cat that is very frightened and acts feral. I am also glad that this shelter would actually hold cats that seem feral for a few days to give people a chance to find their lost pets. A lady in Hammond, Louisiana had her two cats caught in cat traps set in her neighborhood by animal control. She sadly couldn’t reclaim her cats because her cats were killed as soon as they where brought to the “shelter”.



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