For those not in the know, feral cats are those cats who pretty much live in the wild. Some are there because they've been abandoned. Some are there because they're born to the life. All are homeless - left to wander the earth in search of food, solace, and warmth.
It's a problem that plagues all locales, not just big cities. Some folks ... dispose of the cats as they wish (without much to be responsible for - law enforcement often looks the other way in cases of animal abuse), and some use trap-neuter-return, to at least try and manage the population.
Now we have a drug that is being marketed as a cat contraceptive. It's called FeralStat and the recommendation is to leave it out in food you know the local feral cats will eat. Once consumed, it renders them sterile. Problem is, as my friend Michelle from Pet News and Views pointed out on her blog, quoting Martha Smith-Blackmore, DVM and director of Veterinary Medical Services of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, "It's just not safe. Since it is mixed into food left outside, it is eaten by male cats, pregnant cats, raccoons, skunks and other animals who happen to wander by."
Michelle notes, in her blog post, "According to Drs. Martha and Ernie, other veterinarians I spoke to, and the 6th edition of Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook, the drug in FeralStat puts animals at risk of getting uterine infections, diabetes, mammary swelling, tumors, and skin disorders. It can induce abortion in pregnant cats."
What does it mean? Does it mean FeralStat is not a good solution? Does it mean more research needs to happen before we rely on a drug to control the feral cat population? Does it mean the company that makes the drug should step back and rethink what they're selling?
Maybe. Maybe it means we, as caring, thinking human beings, should look at the issue of feral cats and abandoned dogs and any animal that appears neglected or ignored, with new eyes. We should consider the fact that these creatures are sentient beings - yes, they think and they feel and they have the capacity to love. So, would we just arbitrarily give a contraceptive that has such serious side effects to... teenagers, to keep them from ... contributing to the rising teen pregnancy stats?
Obviously, that's out there. Teens aren't cats or dogs. And, we don't legislate fertility in people.
I'm just saying - caring people should treat all living beings with respect and consideration. The humane answer to feral cats is trap - neuter - release, regularly. And, prosecute people who neglect, abuse or abandon pets.
IMBO! (In my brazen opinion)