Uber kittens

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Night Parrot
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Uber kittens

Alas alack private taxi service Uber has joined with animal shelters to provide 15 minute cuddles of kittens on demand. What a sneaky way to get rid of unwanted kittens. As if there aren't enough cats around, now they foisting them on people by subterfuge. How many will be "sold" in the process then later dumped in the bush to become feral?

Canonguy
Canonguy's picture

Unwanted. Yes, that is the problem. Who are to blame? Stupid, selfish and pathetic people who have no care in the world about any living thing other than themselves. The same as the ones that keep putting signs up near my place "FREE KITTENS".

To promote shelter animals is a great idea in my opinion. Who cares if Über want to promote themselves this way, let them. But to bring attention to animals in need is great. I'd much rather adopt an animal (be it a cat or dog) from the streets or a shelter than from a breeder and I would be far more likely helping an animal in need than a person any day.

I foster shelter cats and street cats and rehome them via cat rescue. So what? I know that people who adopt from me get scrutinized for suitablility and keep in touch for years and years still updating me of their adopted ones.

People who go and adopt would be, in my opinion, far more responsible future pet owners than those who buy something on impulse. And I'd rather see unwanted cats be adopted through good, responsible organizations like the Cat Protection Society or other reputable organizations, than end up being put down. A life is a life.

The world is far more overpopulated with the kind of people I've described in the first line above, than useless and unwanted cats.

As for feral cats, that's a different kettle of fish altogether.

Woko
Woko's picture

I guess we still don't give a high priority to protecting our native wildlife.

sparrow
sparrow's picture

I think it all comes down to one thing  "responsible pet ownership" I see the same signs FREE KITTENS and think to cheap or lazy to have there B@#@# cat fixed, makes my blood boil, I'm tempted to go in and grab the whole litter and take them to the local shelter but I know how stretched they are already.

All the cats and dogs (bar one dog) that I have owned Have come from shelters and if I replace either one I will adopt another adult as I feel they're in more need of a home.

We have a similar program where I live, they have days every so often at the local Pet Stock were you can pat kittens and meet the dogs and cats up for adoption, they don't just hand out kittens its all done through the local shelter and has been very successful at placing not just kittens but adult cats and dogs as well.

Annie W
Annie W's picture

May actually be a great idea in many ways to educate people more directly about responsible & environmentally correct cat ownership. No individual is going to walk away with an impulse kitten under their arm, that's not how Shelters operate.

We've had many (indoor) cats over the years, never had any Animal Shelter or long-term reputable registered Breeder even suggest they would allow a cat or kitten to join our home before going through a screening and cooling off process and being spoken to at length about keeping kitty indoors.

More importantly in my book, have never come across any Shelter or Breeder who has allowed us to adopt a cat or kitten without it being immunised, desexed and micro-chipped first (or tatooed pre-microchipping days).  Juvi desexing is becoming the norm these days, done at 8 weeks of age, relevant when you consider a cat can become pregnant as young as 4 months of age.

I don't disagree that there is a feral cat problem, nor that something needs to be done about it to protect the future of our wildlife, but I also think that there should be an enormity of focus placed on the feral humans who have created this problem.

I don't think an animal (the cat) that was domesticated over 5000 years ago is all of a sudden going to be completely outlawed (something I don't support personally) as it has been wished for in the past in other on-line discussions.  So to my mind supporting a more proactive approach of better laws, bigger fines, more enforcible desexing/microchipping/registering and indoor containment of domestic cats, has a greater chance of success rather than just voicing a personal like/dislike etc of a species.  

Estimates of the current relative abundance of feral cats are between 10 and 20+ million, compared to approx 5 to 10 million around 10 years ago.  Bearing in mind that there has never been a fool proof method of estimating the population - spotlight counts, passive track counts, soft trapping etc - there may be more, or less.   On one hand, cats are great at hiding, on the other they're also great at forming family colonies (but generally hunt alone) - so if a group of 6 feral cats were spied together in a 100m radius, can it be assumed that there are 60 in a 1km radius?  Doesn't make sense to me.

Getting back on track laugh..... in my opinion the disgusting dumping of domestic cats in general, is not purely the main factor behind the increase in our feral cat population.  It is the dumping of un-desexed cats specifically, remove some undexesed ferals, the rest will just breed back up to capacity like any other animal.

Various studies - again not completely fool proof - both here and internationally, suggest that between 2-4% of the feral cat population, are actually desexed. 

Lets say for arguments sake that there are currently 15 million feral cats Australia wide, an increase of 10 million over the last 10 years or so, or 1 million average increase per year.  Lets then also average the desexed guesstimate to 3%.  That means that of those 15 million, 450000 of them can not reproduce in the wild - an average increase per year of 45000 lost or abandoned desexed cats over the last 10 years.

My point, how much of a faster positive impact would there be on our wildlife, if better laws were enforced & education given in regards to desexing, micro-chipping and registering?  It would be far more manageable to deal with a growth of approx 45000 cats per year Australia wide who can't reprocuce, than the staggering 955,000 estimate who can!  With mandatory microchipping etc on board also, future captures and reuniting (lost) cats with owners if plausible, or humane euthanasia of these desexed feral cats could be perhaps funded (in part) by fines imposed on the original owner of said cat somehow?

On an interesting International note, I remember reading some time ago that New York City adopted a catch-neuter-release method for their out of control feral cat popluation, around four years ago I think.  Something like 5000 volunteers monitoring over 2000 cat colonies.  The rate of mortality amongst any feral cat population is pretty high, and the results they have had in particular reducing the increase in cat numbers, and reducing their original feral population through natural demise, has been extremely positive.  Animal Welfare organisations there also report varying decreases of 30-70% per year of surrenderd/euthanised animals.

Not advocating by any means this would be an acceptable method to reduce feral cats and their Wildlife kill rate in our vast land, merely pointing out basic biology benefits of mandatory desexing once again.

NW Tasmania

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

AnnieJ wrote:

My point, how much of a faster positive impact would there be on our wildlife, if better laws were enforced & education given in regards to desexing, micro-chipping and registering?  

That's an informative posting AnnieJ and who could disagree. Not sure I understand the aim/mechanics of catching, neutering and releasing feral cats. Maybe I am a bit thick in that respect. But certainly we need better laws, good enforcement and more education. Meanwhile politicians spend their time fighting amongst themselves and developing vacuous spin, instead of doing something positive to help protect threatened native wildlife species.

Annie W
Annie W's picture

Night Parrot wrote:

 Not sure I understand the aim/mechanics of catching, neutering and releasing feral cats. Maybe I am a bit thick in that respect. But certainly we need better laws, good enforcement and more education. Meanwhile politicians spend their time fighting amongst themselves and developing vacuous spin, instead of doing something positive to help protect threatened native wildlife species.

You're not the Lone Ranger there NP, I didn't get the gist either smiley  From memory, I think it all came down to cost/people power/time & space in Shelters (cost and staffing an issue there too)

So it was:  Catch-Transport-House-Assess-Desex or Euthanise-House/Feed for rehome or Disposal of remains versus Catch-Assess & Neuter in Vet Van on site-Release back same day.  I think I also remember however,  that kittens or ill adult cats were automatically taken to be desexed & rehomed or euthanised as applicable.  I wish I could find the actual original article, but Google has buried it.  There is still that info out there, but you have to piece together a few different reports.

Yep, couldn't agree more NP, our Pollies are an embarrassment for so many reasons, not least of all their "priorities". blush

NW Tasmania

pacman
pacman's picture

AnnieJ wrote:

 our Pollies are an embarrassment for so many reasons, not least of all their "priorities". blush

and aren't those priorities going to change given the Qld result - will be just short-term thinking in future so as to be re-elected - but the general public have made it happen not the politicians

Peter

GregL
GregL's picture

Where I live the population of predators of all sorts is pretty stable over time, with variations due to seasonal conditions in the short term. I am pretty observant but have not noticed any increase in feral cats in my district. At the moment there are a lot of rabbits around due to good rains, so of course the predators have increased in response. Foxes, eagles, cats, they love an abundance of rabbits so will increase in numbers until the rabbit numbers drop off again when things get worse. I can't see any particular reason why overall feral cat numbers would be increasing, they have been well established in most of Australia for a long time.

I read recently that the trade winds have been stronger for the last couple of decades, recently El Ninos have failed to develop due to the stronger trade winds. If that pattern continues we will see better rain in Eastern Australia which will mean more cats and foxes. They are now part of the ecosystem, their numbers will fluctuate with seasonal conditions like any organism (except humans). In most rural areas the numbers of feral cats is not dependant on release of urban pets, most people are urban so they only see the conditions in their locality, urban pets going feral seems like a much bigger problem than it actually is. 

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

The proportional numbers of feral cats that now exist due to natural increase and to urban release can only be a guess. Given the kill rate of cats that have gone feral, I am not so sure that the problem is overblown. But I am not qualified to comment on that. Indeed most people are urban, but I suspect it is in the leafy and watered urban fringes where native birds and animals are killed more intensively.

Woko
Woko's picture

Where I live the feral cat problem has certainly increased. (Mind you, my definition of a feral cat is any cat that is on the prowl rather than asleep on a sunny window ledge). The human population has increased in my area as humans build houses on their blocks, move in & bring their cats with them. Since my neighbours & their at least 3 cats moved into their new house the Superb Fairy-wren population has dropped from near 40 to 6, the latter being the highest number I've seen in the last 2 weeks. While the post hoc ergo procter hoc principle needs to be observed I prefer to adopt the cautionary principle, especially since I've seen the cats on my place a number of times. Therefore, a feral cat trap is now on my birthday wish list. 

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture
GregL
GregL's picture

How far away do your neighbours live, Woko? My wife has a neutered male cat about 10yo, we also have the occasional feral, but we have a healthy population of blue wrens. Hopefully the neighbour's cats have just scared the birds away rather than killing them.

You are certainly within your rights to take action if the neighbour's cats are on your place regularly in a rural area. It is usually best to approach the neighbours first rather than take unilateral action. I find that domestic cats are much worse bird killers than wild ferals, domestic cats have more time to play without the necessity of finding food constantly.

Woko
Woko's picture

The garage where they were living is about 150 metres from our boundary, Greg. The house in which they're now living is about 400 metres away. 

Normally, I would have approached my new neighbours & discussed cat control with them but, alas, with the sound of frequent gun fire & loud car exhausts coming from their property at all hours of the day & night I'm reluctant to do so. They give every indication of being quite environmentally hostile & I'm confident their values & mine would be at odds. I may have to restart my local newsletter containing gentle articles about the environment & drop it in their letter box. 

pacman
pacman's picture

Woko wrote:

I may have to restart my local newsletter containing gentle articles about the environment & drop it in their letter box.

reprints of previous editions will be quick

Peter

ben_styles
ben_styles's picture

hey what litter box would you suggest for my 2 furry cats :)

Woko
Woko's picture

Hi ben.

You probably meant letter box through which you could post your cats to an appropriate address.

Reading the above posts would indicate that cats are no laughing matter for our precious wildlife.

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