Opinions under the dome: don’t forget about cats

Opinions under the dome: don’t forget about cats

Mira Sidhu, Staffer

I own three cats, all of which my family has taken in as strays. The oldest, Ella, was a stray kitten my mom found in our backyard, along with another kitten and the mother cat. Since she was feral, the mother cat was weary of humans, but her kittens, including our Ella, were as sweet as can be. Thanks to the intervention of my family, Ella has lived for 17 long, happy years.

However, my family’s feline compassion isn’t universal. According to Google, the dog is the internet’s favorite animal, with dog video searches on Youtube far exceeding those of cats. In a poll from the Associated Press, 74 percent of people said they liked dogs “a lot,” while only 41 percent of people felt the same way about cats. What does all this mean for our feline friends?

For many, it can mean death. Although the number of euthanized shelter animals has decreased in recent years, according to the ASPCA, nearly 200,000 more cats are killed than dogs annually. Additionally, the ASPCA states that stray cats are less likely to be returned to their owners, with only 90,000 cats returned to their owners compared to 620,000 dogs.

Stray and feral cats can also cause problems with pubic health and wildlife populations. A study by National Geographic found that there are over 70 million feral cats in the United States, and that number is growing. Often, the cats will form colonies, living off of birds, rodents, small reptiles, and trash. Compared to their domesticated counterparts, feral cats have a life expectancy of two years, whereas house cats can live upwards of 15. To combat the problem, local animal shelters and volunteers try to catch the cats, then bring them to shelters where they are either euthanized, or neutered and returned to the wild in TNR (trap-neuter-release) programs. Although adult feral cats can’t live with humans, their kittens can, allowing at least parts of cat colonies to find homes where they’ll be safe and cared for.

Regardless of your personal feelings towards cats, nearly everyone can admit feral cats pose a problem, a problem that could face further neglect as cats continue to move out of the spotlight. While you don’t have to adopt a cat, there are other ways to help, such as donating food to, volunteering in local TNR programs, or recommending to friends and relatives the opinion of adopting or fostering cats. Just because cats are no longer internet stars doesn’t mean their issues should fade from the spotlight. 

If you would like to get involved in combating this issue, local organizations such as the Human Society of Greater Dayton and SICSA Pet Adoption Center are just a few of many locations in the area that work to help the cat population. You can contact the Humane Society of Greater Dayton at 937-268-7387 or find more information on their website at https://www.hsdayton.org/. You can contact SICSA Pet Adoption Center at 937-294-6505 or find more information on their website at https://www.sicsa.org/ .

 By: Mira Sidhu

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