Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Duluth's Animal Allies' Misguided Adopt a Barn Cat Project

Sasha was a stray cat who killed dozens of redpolls in my
yard before we solved the problem by taking her in. 
Back in the 1990s when several of us fought tirelessly to get Duluth to enact a cat leash ordinance, requiring any cat off its owner’s property to be leashed, some of our city councilors told me that they couldn’t vote for it, because that would mean they were “favoring one group of animal lovers over another.” It was only when our county health department testified about the serious danger of disease transmission to humans that the council passed the leash ordinance.

Outdoor cats are the number one carrier of rabies among domestic animals. And every cat that feeds on, or even just toys with, rodents or birds can spread toxoplasmosis, which is exceptionally dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies and newborns, and also extremely dangerous for toddlers and the elderly. Outdoor cats tend to use flowerbeds and children’s sandboxes as their own personal litter boxes, putting gardeners and tiny children at risk. The St. Louis County Health Department’s testimony about these and other disease issues were enough to persuade the Duluth City Council to pass the leash law.

In the years since 2000, when the ordinance was enacted, we’ve learned even more about the risks of human diseases from outdoor cats. To quote a 2013 article in USA Today:
Approximately 300 rabid cats are reported each year in the United States, says Jesse Blanton, a CDC epidemiologist. The CDC estimates that 16% of people in the United States who undergo rabies treatment are exposed to the deadly virus from cats. They must be treated with a series of shots.  
People running trap-neuter-release programs say that the cats they release have been vaccinated, but this summer a vaccinated cat from a trap-neuter-release program in Florida attacked a person in Hillsborough County, and the cat tested positive for rabies. The victim had to undergo a painful series of rabies shots. (News report here.)

**Added 9/15: Frederick Minshall wrote me:
per the CDC the worst incidence of human rabies exposure in US history was caused by a TNR [trap-neuter-release feral cat] colony in Concord, NH in 1994. 665 people had to receive PEP [rabies shots]--at a cost of $2 million to the town. A rabid raccoon, attracted to the kibble left out by the idiot caretakers, infected four kittens (TNR kittens???), and THEN [the program] "adopted" (or sold) them to a local pet shop! They claimed they were "vetted", but of course being kittens they had no immunity and they all died. 
Another in 2012 in Carlsbad, NM--this feral colony was courtesy of the imbeciles at "Animal Ark". 12 people got PEP, hundreds of pets and livestock destroyed--along with the cats themselves. **
Cats are also the main vector for toxoplasmosis in humans—there is no vaccination for this, and cats that toy with or eat rodents and birds are the ones who carry this potentially deadly disease. One scientific paper published this month implicates toxoplasma in human epilepsy, neuro-degeneration and cancer.

Since 2000, we’ve also grown increasingly aware of the danger outdoor cats pose to wildlife populations, especially to birds. Outdoor cats are now known to be the worst outright killer of wild birds, and are known to have decimated and even extirpated whole populations of vulnerable bird species.

Domestic cats are natural killers. But they are not part of any natural food chain in America. On top of not being native to North America, people subsidize domestic cats with supplemental food, veterinary care, and shelter. Of all the predators in the world, only domestic cats can maintain high numbers in an area even after decimating and even extirpating natural prey.

Since Duluth’s cat leash ordinance was passed, we’ve also grown increasingly aware of the importance of Duluth, Minnesota, as a migratory passageway for birds. We’ve had 17 years more data collection at Hawk Ridge, and our current counters have been keeping track of our songbird migration, too. The species composition of the flood of migrants through here includes some abundant species, such as geese and robins, but also many, many declining and even endangered species, such as Piping Plovers, Bobolinks, and Eastern Meadowlarks.

The migration doesn't start and end in Duluth, of course. These birds are funneling down the shore in a wide swath. All of northeastern Minnesota is host to exceptional numbers of migrants in spring and fall, and large numbers of birds breed up here, too, vulnerable to cats (especially their young) from spring through fall. Many winter finches up here are drawn to road salt, and I've seen cats lurking in ditches in winter waiting for just such an opportunity.

Now Duluth's own Animal Allies is promoting an “Adopt a Barn Cat” project, in which people can bring home a barn cat for $25. (Right now their website is advertising a 2-for-1 sale!) They acknowledge that these cats are feral, stating, "these independent-minded felines are not suitable indoor companions."

They want people to keep the cats in a protected barn or shed for 2-4 weeks so they will get used to being fed there, but that’s just a suggestion, not a requirement; once the barn door is open, the cats can roam wherever they want.

I called Animal Allies on September 14 and asked if I could adopt one if I live in Duluth. The woman who answered the phone said sure, as long as I had a heated shed or garage. When I mentioned Duluth’s cat leash law, she was confused and asked me to call later in the morning when I could talk to one of the adoption staff. So I called later, and asked an adoption specialist if I could adopt a barn cat if I lived in Duluth. This person also said sure, as long as I had a heated garage or shed. Again I pointed out that Duluth has a cat leash law, and again she hadn’t considered that. She asked that I call back when the manager was there, but this was their day off.

My friend Lisa Johnson, an Animal Allies volunteer, called them on September 15 and reports on Facebook:
I touched base with Animal Allies Humane Society's operations director. Barn cats are not placed within city limits, and adopters are encouraged to keep companion cats indoors. Also, there will be additional instruction for the new work-study students learning the ropes and answering the phones. 
I'm glad to know they're not adopting them out right within Duluth city limits, but nevertheless, this misguided program puts human beings and many native species of birds and other animals in our area at risk. The fact that two people who answered the phone didn't seem very aware of Duluth's cat leash law, combined with their assurances to Lisa that people adopting companion cats are encouraged, not required, to keep those cats indoors seems very disturbing, too. The staff at Animal Allies needs to be more informed both about the existence of local ordinances and the important reasons those laws exist—reasons that are important outside city boundaries as well.

I also can't help but wonder how Animal Allies has enough unsocialized, admittedly feral cats to adopt out on a 2-for-1 sale, when they acknowledge that feral cats without heated outbuildings have a low chance of survival up here. I trust they're not actually bringing feral cats from other communities to our area. **Update: one employee who has added a comment to this post assures us that they don't bring cats from other communities to adopt out here.**

The top line of the Animal Allies webpage about the barn cat program reads, “Got mice? Adopt a Barn Cat!” Yet lower down on the exact same page there's an FAQ:
Will the cats eat birds and other wildlife on my property? 
Cats are opportunistic feeders. Providing them with a steady food source will reduce the effect they have on traditional prey.
Essentially they’re saying that if you want a cat to eat mice, get one of these, but if you don’t want the cat to kill mice, birds, and other traditional prey, don’t worry—it won’t.

I only wish well fed outdoor cats didn’t kill traditional prey. I don’t know how many farmers have bemoaned the tragic fact that they hardly ever hear Bobolinks or meadowlarks anymore, when their own well-fed barn cats were one significant factor in those species' declines.

Duluth's amazing migration exists because of our location at the very tip of Lake Superior. The internationally important migration corridor extends all the way to the top of the lake, and several miles inland. During cold weather events, most of us have experienced the heartbreak of a migration fallout in our area, when suddenly the ground is covered with Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers flitting about. In recent falls during some of these events, warblers have been killed by the thousands in car collisions along Highway 61 and other roads. During one such event, lasting a couple of weeks in the fall of 1991, when I was walking my son to kindergarten each morning, we'd find dozens and even scores of dead warblers littering the sidewalks every day. But these ones hadn't died in unavoidable auto collisions. When I figured out which cat was doing the killing, I gathered an armload of dead warblers and piled them on the owner's porch with a note warning that if I ever saw their cat outdoors again, I’d bring it to the animal shelter.

That well-fed house cat was proof that a steady food source does not reduce the effect a cat can have on "traditional prey"—indeed, because that cat was well cared for, it was in top condition to keep killing even though it wasn’t even eating those poor birds. When well-fed cats strew carcasses about like a toddler’s discarded toys, how can anyone call them natural predators?

The problem of free-roaming cats matches the problem we once had with free-roaming dogs, for the same two reasons: they pose dangers to human beings and to wildlife. Cats are domestic animals, so it is up to humans to prevent and solve the problems they cause. In no case has any trap-neuter-release program caused a dent in local cat numbers, despite the misleading hype by feral cat advocates.

Kasey loves riding in cars! She was a TNR cat before they were clipping ears. 
During my adult life, I’ve taken in 6 stray cats that had each been eating birds. I’ve given them the best life I could. I still have two. Kasey, about 12 years old, came from a trap-neuter-release program in Ohio, and was eating birds in my daughter’s yard. I enticed her into my car with food and drove 800 miles home with her. Fortunately, she loved the car ride, and so she’s the cat I brought along on my drives back and forth to Ithaca when I was working at Cornell. The other, Kitty, is at least 20 years old now (I took her in in 1998 as an adult), and has thrived indoors, too, though she hates riding in cars—when I was in Ithaca, she stayed home with Russ.

Miss Kitty is 20 now, but healthy and happy. And INDOORS. 
If it’s horrible to contemplate euthanizing a cat, why isn’t it equally horrible to contemplate each of the animals that each individual cat kills?  When I was a wildlife rehabber, I held far too many birds as the light in their eyes ebbed out after a cat attack. And I’ve necropsied far too many birds killed by cats, examining the wounds beneath those feathers, the crushed bones and the grievous internal injuries, to imagine that they died quickly or without suffering.

If we look at outdoor cats as individuals, why don’t we look at birds and other cat victims as individuals? Does their suffering and death have no meaning? And when we look at vulnerable bird populations versus dangerously overpopulated cats, how can we consider outdoor cats anything but an ecological scourge?

Heartbreaking as euthanizing cats is, and vital as adoption programs are for saving individual cat lives, cats belong indoors. Those that cannot adapt to indoor life and cannot be prevented from killing birds must be dealt with in the way we once had to deal with stray dogs. This is heartbreaking, but it's the only responsible solution to this human-caused problem.

Animal Allies' Adopt a Barn Cat project exposes humans and pets to diseases, and kills orders of magnitude more birds and other living creatures than the number of individual cats adopted out. I used to support Animal Allies, but as long as they promote and continue this misguided program, they are not allies to the vast majority of animals in our community. "Adopt a Barn Cat" could fairly be called their "Adopt a Subsidized Killer."

Feral cat
This menacing feral cat, which reached out in an attempt to scratch us although we maintained
as much distance as we could on the narrow boardwalk to the beach, was seen again later that
day carrying a dying but still struggling shorebird. 

I will not approve comments that are personal attacks or do not forward the debate in a polite way. Links to TNR studies that have been proven false will not be permitted.  


  1. I wholeheartedly agree! Keep the non-native housecat albeit a Jellicle GrowlTiger or a Grizabella indoors! Housecats are a relatively new animal in North America. They don't need to express their Kitty Spirit outdoors; provide stimulating entertainment for them indoors. Native songbirds may not have the doe-eyed furry cuddly factor but they are native to North America and deserve priority protection.

  2. Thank you for writing this! There is nothing 'green' or environmentally friendly about barn cats. Prevention and native predators are the way to go.

  3. There are two things about the TNR issue that I fail to understand. The first is, if you love cats, how can you support the notion of leaving them outside where they suffer injury, disease, and death? The average outdoor cat has a life expectancy of only 2-5 years, spent in a bitter struggle to survive, whereas an indoor-only kitty can easily live into its mid or late teens in ultimate comfort.

    Secondly, if roving packs of dogs roamed the streets, defecating in yards, killing cats, and terrorizing children, no one would stand for it. Every community in the US has some form of leash law, and some even limit the number of dogs per property. Why are cats different? If I can't own chickens or keep bees in the city, if I have to keep my dog confined to my suburban yard, then why shouldn't my cat be leashed, fenced, or kept indoors as well? It doesn't make sense.

    Kathi Hutton, DVM - watcher of birds, mother of dogs, and roommate of cats

  4. I work for Animal Allies, and no - we are not bringing ferals from other areas. They typically aren't adopted out quickly, but that actually isn't the reason for the "2 for 1" sale. We run a buddy program that provides $25 off the combined adoption fee if you adopt 2 cats. Since the adoption fee for a barn cat is $25 to begin with, that essentially makes them 2 for 1 all the time. If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to ask.

    1. When I did call, two different people answering the phone said these could be adopted in Duluth! So how can we be assured that people calling will be given accurate information? The website says "Providing them with a steady food source will reduce the effect they have on traditional prey," which is false. And on facebook Animal Allies says, "Looking for eco-friendly pest control? Check out our available barn cats!" when food chains in any ecological system require predators to die out or move on when they've depleted their prey. Cats are subsidized predators. This program is truly "Adopt a subsidized killer." Eco-friendly? I think not.

      I'm afraid these horribly misleading statements and the confusion of people answering the phones indicate that we can't count on accurate information from your staff.

    2. I'm sorry you feel that way. As I already stated, we will make sure that everyone is informed moving forward. As for the website, we are stating that a barn cat provided with food will lessen the need for them to hunt due to hunger - which is true. As for eco-friendly, this provides people who want to remove pests from their property an option to do so without needing to use repellents. We work extremely hard to ensure these cats are vet treated, and adopted into a situation that will be the best fit for them. I encourage you to stop in for yourself and chat with the staff if you are truly concerned about how we operate. I'm sure you'll leave with a different mindset.

    3. I've been to Animal Allies a lot, and know you treat your animals well. But you are completely blind to the suffering and death of the victims of cats. I was a state and federally licensed wildlife rehabber. I know firsthand how birds suffer from cat injuries. And you haven't even mentioned the suffering and death to birds in your comments, nor the serious issue of disease transmission to humans.

      Whether you care about bird populations or individual birds or the potential to spread rabies and toxoplasmosis to humans. this barn cat program is unacceptably dangerous and singularly misguided.

    4. It is unfortunate that birds suffer, but at this time this is the best option we have for these cats. Ultimately they are "barn cats" and the goal is for them to remove pests from barns, garages, etc. If the owner decides to let them leave the enclosed structure (which yes, most do) that's up to them. As I already mentioned, your article will open up a discussion allowing us to look at the program and see what we can do to improve. As for disease to humans, all of our barn cats are completely vet treated prior to adoption so yes, that is a lower concern in my eyes.

    5. "Unfortunate that birds suffer"? For every single cat you enter into this program, MANY birds and rodents suffer and die--and as I pointed out in my blog with my own clear eyewitness cases, many of the animals killed by cats are not even eaten! You are NOT allies of "animals" if you put one domestic species so much higher on your hierarchy of concern that you can dismiss hundreds or even thousands of individual animals suffering or dying for every single barn cat you put out there.

    6. And as far as "vet treated," there is no vaccination for toxoplasmosis. Outdoor cats, no matter how well "vet treated" they are, can carry toxoplasmosis in their feces, and cats are the number one source of toxoplasmosis in humans. And that is a growing concern as we learn the many ways that this disease manifests in humans. So your lack of concern about the issue displays a lack of information about it. The reason the St. Louis County Health Department got involved in Duluth's leash law was because they understood the risks that outdoor cats--even pampered companion animals with superb veterinary care--pose to human beings.

    7. You said, "As for the website, we are stating that a barn cat provided with food will lessen the need for them to hunt due to hunger - which is true."

      The website does not say this. It says, "Providing them with a steady food source will reduce the effect they have on traditional prey." That statement is FALSE.

      Yes, well-fed cats do kill fewer traditional prey for FOOD, but continue to kill them because cats have a deep instinct to hunt and to kill, even when they don't eat their prey. A dead bird is a dead bird, regardless of whether the cat eats it. So their effect on traditional prey remains the same, or even grows because the cats are always kept in top condition for hunting.

    8. In reality, well fed cars hunt and are better hunters. Here us a good explanation of it written by a veterinary

    9. Making your community-vermin cat problem into someone else's problem with your "barn cat programs" isn't a solution; that's the tactic of criminally-irresponsible, criminally-negligent, disney-channel-educated, pavement-brained cretins. Just as low-life as those that dumped those cats on you in the very first place. You are absolutely NO better than that. Worse in fact, you actually had a chance to humanely euthanize that unwanted invasive-species vermin animal of yours and were too spineless and heartless to do what is required of you to be a good steward of this planet. Now someone else has to do for you what you were too immature, weak, and heartless to do yourselves; and SHOULD have done by yourselves if you REALLY cared about those unwanted vermin cats.

      Here's a good read to show you what happens to every last one of these relocated invasive-species disease-infested vermin feral-cats that people dump-off on farms and in other rural areas in ANY location of North America.


      All you are doing is adding to the cat-shooting quotas of everyone who lives rural. What a nice waste of your money and time. I personally shot and buried literally hundreds of these invasive-species vermin cats to stop them from gutting-alive and skinning-alive the last of the native wildlife on my lands. Cats adopted by pavement-brained fools (on their 3-10 acre hobby-farms) from "humane" barn-cat programs ran by equally pavement-brained morons. Many hunting-forums even pass along contact information of any new "barn cat programs" -- for free delivery of FREE practice-targets between hunting seasons. I don't condone this because if they miss then I have to shoot them myself when they wander into my own lands. "Hello? Yes, I have a bad rodent problem out here in the country. Can you bring out about 6 of your cats? Thanks!" (A week later: BANG! BANG! Dāmņ, missed one. BANG! BANG! BANG!) Your cats are "valuable", alright. But not in any way that you might ever think.

      Cats that are relocated NEVER stay where they have been dumped. This is why you read reports of cats trying to get back to their points of origin hundreds of miles away. All the while senselessly destroying countless numbers of valuable native wildlife in their wake by torturing animals to death for their hourly play-toys. People in rural areas have enough of their own problem keeping these disease-infested vermin in check by shooting every stray cat they see (if only to protect their own animals and cats from the 3dozen+ deadly zoonotic diseases these free-roaming pestilent vermin cats carry and spread to all other animals and humans today).

      You needn't go adding to everyone's weekly cat-shooting-quotas by releasing more of these pestilent vermin. "Cute" they are not. They ALL need to be destroyed. There are dozens of native predator species that are MUCH better suited for rodent control. Ones that eat rodents only and don't destroy everything that moves, like cats do. There's a good reason one species was even named the Barn-Owl, another the Rat-Snake. Gray-Fox being another excellent mouser, they don't even have European fowl on their menus. Even the 1.75-inch Masked-Shrew, a David & Goliath success story, evolved a poisonous bite specifically for preying on rodents right where they breed. Even the scent of these miniature marvels being around drives away rodents. Cats destroy these most beneficial of all rodent predators the very first chance they get.

      Cat-lickers (criminally irresponsible cat-hoarders) need to become responsible stewards of this planet by getting at least a high-school level of education in matters of ecology and biology so the rest of us don't have to teach you a valuable lesson by shooting and burying every last one of your invasive species vermin cats for you.

    10. You might also enjoy knowing ...

      If people advocate for cats as rodent-control on farms and ranches they've already doomed them to being destroyed by drowning or shooting when it becomes a financial liability more than any asset. Ranchers and farmers worldwide are fully aware that cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasite can cause the very same birth defects (hydrocephaly and microcephaly), still-births, and miscarriages in their livestock and important wildlife as it can in pregnant women. Consequently, this is also how this cats' brain-parasite gets into your meats and onto your dinner-tables, from herbivores ingesting this cat-parasites' oocysts in the soils, transferred to the plants and grains that they eat. Herbivores can contract this parasite in NO OTHER WAY. Not even washing your hands in bleach nor hydrochloric-acid will destroy this parasites' oocysts if you have contracted it from your garden or yard that a cat has defecated in.

      This is why any cats are ROUTINELY destroyed around gestating livestock and wildlife-management areas in the most efficient, humane, and least-expensive method available. Common rural practice everywhere. The risk of financial loss from dead livestock and important native wildlife from an invasive-species cat is far too great to do otherwise. This cats' parasite is now even killing off rare marine-mammals (dolphins, seals, otters, and even rare whales) along all coastal regions around the world from run-off containing this cat-parasites' oocysts. Letting your vermin cats roam free is absolutely no better and just as criminal and morally reprehensible as throwing indiscriminate rat-poison around on everyone's property, and indeed the whole planet.

      Children on farms and ranches also learn how to be a good steward of their lands when it comes to invasive domesticated species like cats, with one simple statement from the ecologically responsible parents (those who are directly dependent upon the very lands on which they live, including yourselves), "If you see a cat more'n 100 yards from any building, shoot it! It's up to no good." They don't bother with expensive spaying and neutering cats, that's too time consuming and costly for a work-cat that's not doing its proper job. That's how animals are "domesticated" in the very first place; keep-alive that which benefits humans, destroy the genetic lines of that which does not. The very same way that you got your vermin man-made cats in the very first place.

      The next time cat-lickers bite into that whole-grain veggie-muffin or McBurger, they need to just envision biting down on a shot-dead or drowned kitten or cat. For that's precisely how that food supply got to their mouths -- whether they want to face up to it or not. It's not going to change reality no matter how much they twist their mind away from the truth of their world.

      If you want to blame someone for the drowning and shooting of cats, you need to prosecute yourselves -- every time you eat. Enjoy your next meal! At least 1 cat paid for it with its life.

  5. It seems no matter what I say, you won't be satisfied. Our goals within animal welfare are different, and that's okay. I respect your opinions and hope you'll take comfort in knowing we only adopt these cats out where it is legal to do so. Best wishes.

  6. I'm mystified that you could imagine I would ever be satisfied as long as your solution to unsocialized feral cats is to set them loose on our area's landscape, right in the path of one of the most important bird migration corridors in North America. I speak for the birds, which I apparently must remind you are also animals.

    You are ensuring the deaths of hundreds or even thousands of wild animals for every single individual feral cat in this program. I say that is too high a cost.

    1. We aren't going to see eye to eye on this topic, which is okay. We are apart of two different types of animal welfare, both equally important. You are making the argument that I see more value in the life of cats over the birds, yet your suggestion is that we euthanize these cats - so clearly you see more value in the the life of the birds than the cats. This makes the argument somewhat hypocritical. Going back and forth in a comment section isn't going to change what either of us stands for, so I'm going to go enjoy the rest of my weekend. Hope you can do the same.

    2. You're saying EACH feral cat's life is worth the deaths of HUNDREDS of individual birds and rodents. If each one kills just one animal a day (and some of them kill many more, especially during migration fallouts, which we have every year), that's 365 dead animals per year. Mathematically, you would save the one over the many. That sounds hypocritical to me.

    3. If you truly care about the well-being of animals, then destroying free-roaming cats is the most humane thing to do of all options available (even for the cats themselves). Shooting them to death is even more humane than trapping them and euthanizing them in a shelter. They're not suffering in torment for days, cringing in fear while locked in a cage from which there is no escape, thrashing their bodies against the walls, tearing out their own claws and teeth on the mesh until they are a blöödy mess. Ever seen a trapped feral cat? It's not pretty. Then being handled by humans that they dread and fear. Instead they are happily stalking some innocent animal to disembowel-alive and skin-alive for their next play-toy. Then the very next moment they are dead and they don't even know they've been shot. Now THAT is a humane way to die, instantly dying while engaged in the very thing that they loved doing in life. They die in under 3 seconds, more often less than 1 second, not even enough time to bleed-out, not even enough time to make a sound. Now THAT is HUMANE.

      Destroy any one invasive species cat = save the lives of thousands of native animals. Saving them from being tortured to death by being disemboweled-alive or skinned-alive and left to suffer to death, or their offspring left to starve to death after the parents are killed or after cats have destroyed all of their ONLY food-sources -- and all done to NATIVE animals that actually belong here by just ONE cat.

      That's the true suffering-animal-equation. If you want to end the slow torturous deaths of thousands of animals, you must begin with destroying any one free-roaming cat, NO MATTER HOW you have-to accomplish that.

  7. TNR does nothing to mitigate for zoonoses.

  8. "As for the website, we are stating that a barn cat provided with food will lessen the need for them to hunt due to hunger - which is true." Nope. Not even a little bit. The urge to eat and the urge to hunt are controlled by different mechanisms in the brain of a cat. Feedking in no way lessens the motivation to hunt.

  9. I was the first person who answered the phone when you called Animal Allies to investigate the organization's barn cat adoption program. You're right to sense that I was completely caught off guard when you asked whether one could house a barn cat within Duluth city limits: the fact is, in my several years working at Animal Allies, the question has never once come up. That's because people who live in urban areas are simply not looking for barn cats.
    Barn cats from Animal Allies and other rescues with similar programs would not be happy living in a house; in order to save them from euthanasia, rural adopters with heated outbuilldings take them in, usually to help with rodent overpopulation. Unlike traditional farm cats, with their yearly litters of kittens, cats adopted through Animal Allies' program are spayed or neutered, preventing the creation of a larger feral population, as often happens in rural areas where cats are not fixed.
    When looking at the effect of Animal Allies' work on songbirds, the greatest impact to note is the drastic reduction of the stray cat population in Duluth over recent decades. Thanks to the organization's programs, especially collaborative spay/neuter initiatives, there are now much fewer feral cats living in the city than there were even five or ten years ago. Our community is very far ahead of the national curve in this sense.
    While it is not Animal Allies' duty to enforce city and county ordinances, they always encourage owners to protect their pets, as well as people and wildlife, by adhering to leash laws and microchipping pets so they can be reclaimed quickly should they jump a fence or slip a collar.
    The combination of your work towards introducing leash laws for cats within city limits and Animal Allies' work to reduce the feral cat population and educate pet owners has made Duluth a safer place for cats and for wild birds. I, for one, am very proud to be a part of this accomplishment.

  10. The municipalities with the worst rat problems in the USA are also the municipalities with the greatest populations of community-vermin cats. Surprising? Not at all. Here's why:

    The myth about cats being good rodent control has been disproved on every island where cats were imported to take care of the imported rodents. Hundreds of years later and there's nothing but a thriving population of cats and rodents -- all the native wildlife on those islands now either extinct or on the brink of extinction -- even those native species which are better rodent predators than cats (such as many reptiles and shrews which destroy rodents right in their nests), the cats having destroyed them directly or indirectly.

    The rodents reproduce in burrows and holes out of the reach of cats, where they are happy to reproduce forever to entertain cats the rest of their lives, and make your own lives miserable, on into infinity. On top of that, when cats infect rodents with cat's Toxoplasma gondii parasite, this hijacks the minds of rodents to make the rodents attracted to where cats urinate.

    Cats actually attract disease-carrying rodents to where cats are. The cats then contract these diseases on contact with, or being in proximity to, these rodents. Like "The Black Death", the plague, that is now being transmitted to humans in N. America directly from cats that have contracted it from rodents. Yes, "The Black Death" (the plague) is alive and well today and being spread by people's cats this time around.

    Cats attracting these adult rodents right to them further increasing the cat/rodent/disease density of this happy predator/prey balance. It has been documented many many times. The more cats you have the more rodents and diseases you get. I even proved this to myself when having to rid my lands of hundreds of neighbors' vermin barn-cats by shooting and burying every last one of them. A rodent problem started to appear about the same time the cats started to show up, 15 years of it. And, if you check the history of Disney's feral cat problem, their rodent problem also started to appear at the very same time their cats showed-up. Coincidence? Not at all. (BTW: All cat-lickers' beloved Disney's TNR cats are no more, they've all been destroyed by hired exterminators this last year. Disney finally wised-up. But they are still plagued with perpetual cat-dumpers now.) All rodent problems around my home completely disappeared after every last barn-cat was shot-dead and safely disposed of. All the better NATIVE rodent predators moved back into the area after the cats were dead and gone. Not seen one cat anywhere nor had even one rodent in the house in over eight years now. (So much for their manipulative, deceptive, and outright lie of the mythical "vacuum effect" too.)

    Cats DO NOT get rid of rodents. I don't care how many centuries that people will claim that cats keep rodents in-check, they'll still be wrong all these centuries. Civilizations of humans have come and gone in great cities in Egypt, yet their cats and rodents remain in even greater pestilent numbers.

    No cat population anywhere has ever been able to control rodents effectively, in fact cats only attract a rodent problem. But native predators can get rid of rodents -- easily.

  11. Here's a couple of good (and independent) recent examples of what TNR promoters and practitioners bring to your communities. If everyone not involved lawyered-up you can have them all bankrupt for life and sitting in prisons for a long time. That's one way to get enough money to euthanize them all.

    Any animal harvested from the wild which already has rabies is not cured of rabies with that single vaccination they give it. Nor are any kittens able to mount an effective defense against rabies from a vaccination because their immune systems aren’t developed enough yet.

    Any animal harvested from unknown rabies exposure conditions with an unknown vaccination history must be quarantined for no less than 6 months in a government supervised double-walled containment system — as required by all national and international pet-trade, import/export, and animal-transport laws. Anyone involved in your TNR and barn-cat programs at any level can be deeply sued for being in direct violation of these laws.

    "Health officials seeking people who may have had contact with rabid kitten" - News OK - June 15, 2017 --

    Think they'll be able to find everyone? Well, they will, eventually. When they are found dying of rabies after they have gone "mad" and attacked others. That's one way I guess. I wonder if all children in the area will be honest with their parents about playing with a kitten, or even remember which one -- if they are lucky enough to even get asked.

    I guess too that all those people from decades ago who first wrote all the no-animals-at-large, rabies-prevention, and rabies-containment laws were really stupid. Only today's uneducated, lying, deceptive and manipulative cyber-bullying cat-advocates know what's wise for all lives in their communities. Right?

    The worst incidence of human rabies exposure in US HISTORY was due to a TNR'ed feral cat colony in Concord, NH in 1994. A rabid raccoon attracted to food left out for the community-vermin cat-colony infected four of the colonies kittens with rabies–all subsequently died. But before they did the colony caretakers foisted them on a local pet store. The store sold them to the public, after which all the kittens promptly died. 665 people were exposed thereby--it cost the township of Concord $2 million to treat them. Documentation of this can be found on the CDC website (2013). I'll ask in passing: how was this colony producing KITTENS, after supposedly having been trapped, NEUTERED and released?

    In 2012 another irresponsible group of "caretakers" known as "Animal Ark" touched off another rabies exposure crisis in Carlsbad, New Mexico when some of their "community" vermin caught rabies from a skunk attracted to the cat food put out by the feeders. Only 12 people were exposed and had to be treated, but hundreds of pet cats and dogs and livestock had to be destroyed.

  12. Those cats need to be tested for ALL of the following diseases; or I hope the recipient of one of them that is adopted-out or someone coming in contact with your disease-infested cats sues you, their city, their county, their state, all legislators, any morally-corrupt veterinarians benefiting from this INHUMANE practice, and every last conniving and manipulative cat-hoarding TNR practitioner so deep that they never recover from it for the rest of their criminally negligent and criminally irresponsible sorry-excuses for lives. (For just one example of THOUSANDS, not long ago businesses in Miami were ruined by caretakers of feral-cats spreading hookworm in all the beaches. Lawsuits aplenty!)

    These are just the diseases these invasive species vermin cats have been spreading to humans, not counting the ones they spread to all wildlife. THERE ARE NO VACCINES against many of these, and are in-fact listed as bio-terrorism agents. They include: Afipia felis, Anthrax, Bartonella (Rochalimaea) henselae (Cat-Scratch Disease), Bergeyella (Weeksella) zoohelcum, Campylobacter Infection, Chlamydia psittaci (feline strain), Cowpox, Coxiella burnetti Infection (Q fever), Cryptosporidium Infection, Cutaneous larva migrans, Dermatophytosis, Dipylidium Infection (tapeworm), Hookworm Infection, Leptospira Infection, Giardia, Neisseria canis, Pasteurella multocida, Plague, Poxvirus, Rabies, Rickettsia felis, Ringworm, Salmonella Infection (including the most dangerous new super-strain found only in cats), Scabies, Sporothrix schenckii, Toxocara Infection, Toxoplasmosis, Trichinosis, Visceral larva migrans, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. [Centers for Disease Control, July 2010] Bird-flu (H1N1, H5N1, H7N2), Bovine Tuberculosis, Sarcosporidiosis, Flea-borne Typhus, Tularemia, Rat-Bite Fever, SARS, an antibiotic-resistant strain of Staph aureus (MRSA -- Meticillin-Resistant Staph aureus) "The flesh-eating disease", and Leishmania infantum; can now also be added to CDC's list.

    When ridding your lands and lives of these highly destructive man-made invasive-species vermin cats please do so in a manner where you can safely and sanitarily retrieve that useless carcass and dispose of it so no other life comes in contact with it. Your wildlife and neighbors will thank you. If using guns, I'd even advise against using a shotgun (the tool of choice in the past), too much disease-filled splatter. Make it clean as possible. Wear gloves while disposing of any cat-carcasses and even bury or burn those gloves too when the last cat in your area is finally gone. You need to dispose of that cat safely and hygienically so that wildlife won't die from the deadly diseases cats spread even after their death. Leaving ANY cat out in nature, alive OR dead, is no better than intentionally poisoning your native wildlife to death. I know this. I fed some wildlife and their offspring that they had while under my care with one of the hundreds of shot-dead cats on my lands. Those native animals then promptly died from some disease in that invasive-species cat-meat. Cats truly are complete and total wastes-of-flesh. They can't even be used to feed wildlife safely. And letting live cats roam free is absolutely NO different than throwing DDT on everyone's property to outright kill any other living thing. It's now time to put the cap back on every bottle of man-made environmental-poison labeled "CAT" and dispose of all of them too as environmentally safe as is humanely possible. Then make the production, ownership, and use-of any bottle labeled as "CAT" into a punishable fine, just like DDT was responsibly dealt with to end that similarly man-made environmental disaster.

  13. People who make arguments like this are rarely vegan (or even vegetarian). If you are not, you clearly do not believe that animals have any value apart from their usefulness to humans. You have failed to make any moral argument for why we are not entitled to value cats more than other animals.

    1. People who make vague accusations and ad hominem attacks to defend the presence in the natural world of a human-domesticated species that kills an excessive and unsustainably large number of wild animals have failed to make any moral argument at all.

    2. There is no vague accusation or ad hominem attack. The point is that you do not have a consistent moral philosophy. You said that "You're saying EACH feral cat's life is worth the deaths of HUNDREDS of individual birds and rodents. That sounds hypocritical to me."
      What is hypocritical is that bird people like you want to criminalize people who care for outside cats, yet do not indicate that you have any problem with people allowing their dogs to hunt (which is common in the country and no less brutal than allowing a cat to hunt), taking unnecessarily huge amounts of habitat from wild animals for farming (we could take much less if we would factory farming animals), etc.
      The point is that I have no tolerance for meat eaters who complain about cats hunting birds. I see eating most meat as no less brutal than allowing a cat to hunt. Taste pleasure is not a better justification than emotional bonds with cats.