The county of Kauai, one of the Hawaiian islands, assembled a nine member Feral Cat Task Force to make recommendations regarding the management of the community cat population. The county paid $30,000 for the report, issued in March 2014. The task force excluded the president of Kauai Ferals and was primarily comprised of individuals wishing to exterminate cats.
The final report highlighted the Billions and Billions of Birds myth often touted by cat haters and estimated the county’s feral cat population at 20,000. The 10 year goal, as stated in the report, is for the island to have “zero feral, abandoned and stray cats” which is obviously an unattainable and unrealistic goal. Gee, maybe they should have let the guy who knows feral cats have some input.
Among the recommendations made by the task force:
- Expand the cat licensing ordinance to include colony caretakers.
- Outlaw cats on county property. Trap any cats found on county property for adoption or killing.
- Require licensed cat owners to obtain written permission (revokable with 10 days notice) from any property owner willing to allow cats on his property. Any cats found on property without written permission from the owner will be deemed stray and subject to trapping.
- Implement a TNR program in two phases:
1. For the first five years, TNR colonies must be registered and monitored to maintain at least a 90% spay-neuter rate. Sick, injured and new cats, including kittens, must be removed from the colony for adoption or killing.
2. After the initial five year period, TNR colonies must be registered and will only be allowed on fully fenced, private property. The county will no longer pay for maintaining its community cats and the financial burden will be shifted to private citizens.
- The county must hire additional animal enforcement officers in order to conduct the increased cat licensing, monitoring, trapping and killing.
In effect, the recommendations target outdoor cats for extermination – potentially including indoor cats who escape their homes – and punish colony caretakers with licensing fees and unreasonable restrictions making it impossible for them to reduce the colony size over time. The TNR program as outlined is destined to fail by design. This is what you get when you commission a report from people who want to kill cats.
Judy Dalton, one of the token non-cat hating members of the task force, expressed some reasonable concerns in her comments at the end of the report:
If there is going to be a reduction in the numbers of community cats, it is absolutely imperative that spay/neutering services be affordable and accessible to all cats – both owned and unowned. The cost to spay and microchip a female cat at the Humane Society was hiked from $10 to $50 last year – 5 times more than it has been in the past. This is beyond the affordability of most residents on Kauai where a female cat and 4 female kittens and 2 males would cost them over $300,
when a primary concern is putting food on their tables. As a result, female cats didn’t get spayed and their kittens were abandoned. I rescued more abandoned kittens this past year than the past 18 years that I’ve been doing so.
The spay/neuter van needs to continue and be available to feral cats, as it has been in the past and not be denied to feral cats as it was this past year.
In addition, Ms. Dalton lamented that experienced TNR supporters were barred from participating during the decision making work session of the task force, resulting in a lop-sided set of recommendations favoring cat eradication.
It’s up to the Kauai Co Council to consider the recommendations of the task force and determine what action to take regarding its community cats. Anyone wishing to contact the council with polite comments supporting TNR and opposing cat extermination and the criminalization of cat owners should email: Councilmembers@kauai.gov
(Thanks Nathan for sending me this story.)