The Economics of Feral Cat Control: Costs and Benefits

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As the feral cat population increases, several associations and anti-feral cat groups feel the need to control their population. To achieve this, they often adopt inhumane measures such as euthanasia. It not only kills these creatures brutally but also costs a huge amount of money to implement them.

Moreover, several studies have proven that killing feral cats cannot remove them completely, as new colonies will emerge somehow. However, several other methods can cost-effectively control feral cats and come with many benefits. Let’s find them out!

What are the Costs Involved in Feral Cat Control?

Removing cats requires a lot of money, labor, and frequently more resources than available. An economic analysis commissioned by Best Friends Animal Society found that trap-neuter-return programs are more cost-effective at population management than capturing and euthanizing feral cats, which cost billions of dollars.

Moreover, continuously using trapping resources even when cats are in little supply can add to the costs. However, if trapping effort is routinely maintained to fit the number of cats present in a community, it could reduce the cost significantly. To define management goals and learn how successful the program will be, an effort should be made to determine how many cats are present at the site.

One particular research estimates that there are 87 million homeless, free-roaming cats in the United States. Local governments would spend about $16 billion to catch and kill these cats as compared to around $7 billion to fund feral cat programs conducted by rescue groups and volunteers. Moreover, the cost study demonstrates that the trap-and-euthanize strategy is expensive and ineffective in reducing the number of stray cats.

However, feral cat control efforts may get affected badly and add to the costs due to the increasing rate of abandonment. It is essential to spread awareness about this issue and provide solutions to reduce the abandonment rate. Setting up rescue shelters and adoption centers can potentially lessen the abandonment of feral cats.

What are the Benefits of Feral Cat Control?

Instead of killing feral cats to control their population, adopting programs that save their lives while reducing nuisance can benefit the community and the cats significantly. These would require trapping cats with thorough planning and close attention to detail. Trappers use game cameras and visual surveys to locate cat-feeding places, den locations, and movement. However, ensure to use spacious traps like the Faicuk Collapsible Animal Trap to avoid stress and anxiety buildup in caged feral cats.

Below are some of the benefits of feral cat control.

1. Saves the Lives of Feral Cats

When feral cats enter community shelters for animals, almost half of them are euthanized due to various reasons. This is highly inhumane and can cost huge amounts of money. Feral cat control can prevent this and save the lives of the cats who deserve to fully live their lives.

2. Encourages Community Involvement

Feral cat control programs often involve trapping, catching, and releasing the cats. This may require the involvement of the community as a whole. Such programs will encourage people to participate and be a part of community activities.

3. Prevents Pest Infestation

Eradicating feral cats can lead to an increase in pests such as rodents, mice, rats, and others. This can lead to the spread of infections and diseases in the community. Feral cat control programs can prevent such situations as feral cats often hunt and kill these animals.

4. Prevents New Feral Cat Colonies

A stable colony of feral cats that have been vaccinated in a community can prevent other cat colonies from coming up. This will also prevent untreated cats from bringing in illnesses and the transmission of diseases.

5. Reduces Nuisance Behavior

Feral cat control can greatly reduce the nuisance behavior often seen in feral cats. It will prevent them from marking their territories, creating too much noise from fighting, and other such behaviors.

6. Reduces Predation of Wildlife

Since cats tend to hunt wild animals and birds, which can cause a reduction in their population, feral cat control can effectively prevent and reduce predation. This can have a positive impact on the environment, and the effort will also help in conservation strategies.

Conclusion

The government spends billions of dollars every year on the trapping and euthanization efforts of feral cats. These may not provide the desired results. However, feral cat control is an effective and cost-efficient alternative to the problem.

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