Feral cat control

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I'll grant Leo Whiting the benefit of the doubt for advocating that we "outlaw and euthanize feral cats — not just neuter them," because recent media attention has erroneously presented this as a viable solution to the stress that cats place on bird populations ("Cats and birds," Forum, Feb. 2). All the same, Whiting and his sources are still wrong.

Trap and remove was once the standard for control of feral cat colonies. Why didn't it work? Because each cat removed (and killed) from a colony only inspired the surviving cats to overbreed to compensate (the "vaccum effect"). The practice of trap and remove isn't just barbaric; it's self-defeating several times over. It does avian life no favors, and only satisfies human bloodlust.

Instead, trap-neuter-return stabilizes the colony and allows it to eventually die out. It still only works if we address the real root of the problem: irresponsible humans who abandon unsterilized pets. The enemy is us.

Erin Saunders

Salt Lake City