U.S. streets could soon be overrun with cats if communities fail to get a handle on growing feline populations, a veterinary medicine researcher says.If you have a problem with feral cat colonies in your area, search out a Trap/Neuter/Release program to help alleviate the problem.
The problem is growing numbers of not just strays, but also other free-roaming pet cats. The strays are likely to go unneutered or unspayed, and therefore to reproduce like mad.
On top of that, though, more than 38 million households own an estimated 88 million cats — that's about one cat for every 3.5 Americans.
Those that aren't "fixed" often can and do still wander freely outdoors or get lost and make kittens.
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Fertile female cats produce an average of two litters of four to six kittens per year. As a result, up to 5 million U.S. cats are euthanized in shelters each year, according to estimates by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Here are Lord's tips for owners nationwide: Make sure pet cats, along with those you feed but don't own, are spayed and neutered. Be willing to support ways to work with local government, veterinary groups and shelters to figure out how to address the problem of free-roaming cats.
"It gets very emotional, but I think groups have to work together to recognize there is not one solution that is going to work in every community," Lord told LiveScience.
"Some of it is elevating the status of cats," she said.
They are less likely to be tagged or carry other ID markers.
They are hardly ever reunified with owners, if lost, and "they get less veterinary care, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association," she said. "Vet visits for cats is lower than that for dogs, the frequency of going. Is that because they are healthier? I'm not sure we can make that assumption."
Spay. Neuter. Keep your cat inside. It's the healthiest thing for them AND for you.