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Citizen complaint of the day: The lady who drives into Dorchester to feed street cats

A fed-up citizen files a complaint about a woman who drives to Groom Street in her SUV every morning between 6 and 6:30 a.m. to feed the area's feral cats:

It's been going on for years and still she has not been discovered. The mess these cats do all over residential homes yet she does not clean it up.

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Comments

One cat feeder was profiled in the Globe in 2014; in addition to feeding she had at that time removed over 100 cats from the streets. Apparently she's not the only person who does this.

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No names but several have FB accounts and interact there. At least one is rather persistent and regularly challenges residents when they ask (gender neutral) to not do that because of the problems it causes them with racoons, opossum, and rats, (gender neutral) then gets in their faces. In that person's defense, (gender neutral) has been subject to threats by neighborhood residents as well.

There have been instances where people feeding birds have received court orders to cease.

It is noble to have such a heart that you want to relieve the suffering of these animals that are in the urban wild through no fault of their own, but it is a known fact that these acts of mercy can have contrary consequences.

As to the 311 complaint... anyone can photo a license plate and make a complaint. They could just as easily have said this was the car of a "creepy clown." The rules of evidence don't apply.

Nothing will come of this until it reaches a formal complaint stage and enough people are willing to file specific charges and be willing to issue testimony before an official.

Even if 311 approached the person about this it is unlikely such driven people will not stop unless threatened with formal action. Even then... you know....

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There are no negative consequences when you feed a stray, unless you don't find solutions for him or her (trap, neuter, return) or an appropriate, experienced shelter for cats that can be adopted. As far as I am concerned when you help a cat you positively impact the cat, the wildlife, the neighborhood, your soul...etc. I help cats and it isn't easy. Not only do I do this on my own dime but I actively take time away from family and friends to do it. Instead of looking at the downside to helping cats find out how you can help them and be a part of the solution. I think this "complaint" stage is because people don't know what to do. That's why we, as a civilized society, can help cats instead of denying their existence.

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.....Mom?

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Kevin?

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Here in Dorchester
Assholes abandon their pets
Let her feed the cats

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We have this problem on our street in Eastie too. Is there any point in reporting this? Drives us crazy because we've spent hundreds trying to fix our lawn from cats digging it up-and it doesn't really help the cats in the long run either...

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What do you do to help the cats?

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What do you do to help the cats?

What do you do to help the rats and mice in your neighborhood? Rats are sentient beings; they feel pain; many starve. Are you helping to feed them?

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Wtf? I dont help feral cats, or squirrels, or rats, or mice, or the coyote who appeared in my yard in Dorchester a few years ago. Let them die.

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I wouldn't feed him/her either. But I would at least leave out an ACME catalog for them.

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Congratulations, you win the Internets today!

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They're on this thing called the interwebs. ;^)

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serves the entire Boston metro area in a trap, neuter, return program. It relies on neighborhood residents to identify feral cat colonies, and then it helps to trap, neuter and return the ferals as well as identifying the abandoned friendlies, who also get needed veterinary care, spay, and neutering and then go to non-kill rescue organizations such as the Giffords Shelter, for adoption placement.

Volunteers serve as trappers and colony feeders, and they make sure that there is safe shelter for the cats, as well as ID any new cats so that they get trapped ASAP (especially before kitten season starts). Many postal carriers are eyes and ears in the various neighborhoods as they see the "usual suspects" and can ID new and unfamiliar animals.

CRA keeps records of every colony, and of every individual animal trapped. In recent years, animal surrenders and abandoned animals from Dorchester to the MSPCA have greatly been reduced as a result of these efforts.

If this is a previously unidentified cat colony, I hope that someone will get in touch with CRA to get the wheels rolling.

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I started trapping in 2003 with the help of CRA http://www.charlesriveralleycats.org/. At that time, it was winter and I couldn't understand why there were so many cats outside. Who leaves their cat out when a blizzard is expected?! That spring, I started trapping. Do you know how many of those cats were "feral"? One or two, the rest had been abandoned. CRA found homes for all. Well, except the ones I kept. :-)

Over the years, I've trapped hundreds (yes, hundreds) of cats and kittens, in my neighborhood, around Brighton, and beyond. I no longer feed outside, but my neighbor does and she lets me know of any new cats she sees. As far as I know, there is now only one cat left from the original colony. There used to be over 30 - in my Brighton neighborhood alone.

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Thank you! You have done a wonderful thing for your neighborhood and the cats!

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Don't forget Boston Forgotten Felines, who do similar work.

http://www.bostonsforgottenfelines.org/

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Instead of human renewal in Boston why not cat renewal and relocate these alley cats to do battle with the subway rats who have overrun the public garden and Boston Commons

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Then the city would have to register them with the EPA as a pesticide.

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http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/12/the-case-against-cat...

*I have no opinion, but i thought this was an interesting read.

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For many, indoor cats are great. Their companionship outweigh the smell, dander, and cost. And that's great.

Cats that get outdoors are a damned disaster. They absolutely eviscerate bird life. And while they take out a few mice in the city, they also take out loads of other rodents that don't spread disease but instead help urban areas stay green.

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Do you know what an unchecked rat population does to bird life?

Apparently not.

I guess climbing trees and raiding nests and eating all the eggs isn't as visible to you as cats capturing birds.

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I guess climbing trees and raiding nests and eating all the eggs isn't as visible to you as cats capturing birds.

Congratulations, you win today's Gratuitous Sanctimonious Putdown Award. Now please show me evidence of urban rats "climbing trees and raiding nests and eating all the eggs". Yes, we all understand it's possible, but those of us who aren't intent on making absurd arguments in favor of feral cats also understand that urban rats have easier food sources and thus aren't likely to go climbing trees and raiding birds' nests.

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experts believe that rats are to blame for between 40 percent and 60 percent of all seabird and reptile extinctions

http://scienceavenger.blogspot.ca/2007/12/humans-outdone-by-rats-for-cau...

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Those aren't in trees but rather on rocky islands in the sea.

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but not all

but you know what, forget about words.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/XnTclWO.jpg)

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/twsKQcP.jpg)

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/UxsB9GF.jpg)

obviously i could go on probably forever posting pictures of rats in birds nests that are in trees, but that hardly seems necessary.

if you want there are also plenty of pictures of rodents eating birds that are still alive. while theyre in their nests. that are in trees.

i mean, it seems beyond silly to argue that (possibly) the single most recognized invasive species in the world would elect to not invade a birds nest?

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The fact of the matter is that humans bring rats along with them, so they brought cats along to control them.

Take one side of a balanced equation out and guess what happens? Actually, you don't have to guess - we ran the cat extermination experiment in urban areas in medieval times. We lost half the human population as a result.

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in all fairness, humans finding cats useful in any intentional manner is very much a (relatively) recent thing!

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I haven't seen rats raiding birds' nests, but I have certainly seen rats climbing my lilac shrub to eat from my suet feeder - I had to move the feeder to a less stable branch to try to discourage them.

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Here you are complaining about people questioning you and your assertions by using "preachy".

Look at what you have posted on this thread so far, rural bumpkin darling, and try that again.

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Cats are not meant to be indoor-only animals. Depriving them of the outdoors keeps them from getting proper exercise, and results in overweight, unhealthy, and sometimes extremely neurotic, cats.

As for the birds being "eviscerated", birds kill things, too. Every outdoor animal kills stuff. Some of it appears beneficial, some of it doesn't, but that's the circle of life.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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and your point is valid.

However, every animal in captivity - farm, zoo, aquarium, sanctuary, is restricted in it's range more or less. The best we can do is to provide animals with a healthy environment and enrichment activities which stimulate their natural behaviors.

I know this discussion is about colonies in Dot, but you might be surprised to learn that there are colonies at Logan, in Newton (where it's hell to find feeders and trappers because, well, people just don't DO hands on volunteering for anything other than Mar-A-Lago fundraisers, dahlink).

As for rats climbing - come on you marine types - what are the baffles on the ship lines called that keep rats from coming aboard? Because rats are smart, and rats can swim well, they can and do swim up and into toilets, as well as climb great heights. The MSPCA usually has rats for adoption, and they make very affectionate and loyal companions. Gotta luv on the rattus rattus pack.

Thanks for the shout outs to CRA. They do good work, and they are working hard to eventually put themselves out of work by having zero feral and abandoned cats. So help them out as you will.

Happy new year!

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They don't belong here and they cause damage when they breed outside.

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Humans are the most invasive and destructive species on the planet.

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I am not anti cat but it is an illusion that they're happier outside. It is our responsibility to keep our pets inside yards and homes.

I think is important to keep the perspective that we bring these animals here for her own enjoyment or carelessness and we have to take responsibility for the Harm they cause.

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Being kept indoors is also healthier for the cat. Less risk of disease / predation / injury

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It's healthier for us. Less risk of disease/predation/injury.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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since the advent of grocery delivery i dont even need to leave the house for freezer 'ritos and knock off cheetos

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You can keep neutered cats happy inside, you just need to give them a few high places to climb to and perch, boxes and tunnels to hide in, daily play sessions with toys they can "hunt", and some windows to watch birds, etc. You can swap that stuff around, rotate toys and generally mix things up to keep them from boredom. Have more than one cat and they will keep each other busy playing, grooming, and hanging out, doing cat things. Neutering is essential, of course. Raise a cat from a kitten to be inside and give it ways to play and companionship, and it will be happy inside. It's harder when they are used to going outside, but then they are sadly likely to die young from cars, poison, creeps, other animals, and the injuries, infections, and viruses they can get from fighting each other.

Is it just me, or are the rats in those photos pretty cute?

The local feral rescues are amazing! There are far fewer cats to adopt at the Animal Rescue League nowadays.

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The problem with "the problem with" articles: they never explore what would happen if they got their way.

They make an elaborate case against, but don't ever consider the consequences.

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The internet wouldn't exist. Cats had humans invent the internet so we would have a place to share cat pictures.

Cat.

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Maybe try complaining to your scumbag neighbors about not abandoning their cats when they move?

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Feral cat colonies are self-perpetuating; I'm sure I don't have to explain the mechanism. And anyway, if the neighbors left their cats when they moved, then they're not neighbors any more and aren't there to complain to, are they?

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That's whtat the NEUTER part is about.

You have four choices:

Trap, neuter, release, and manage.

Murder and "clearance", subsequent creation open territory, more cats enter the vacuum and breed more

Freeform perpetuation

Rats and mice everywhere with exponential growth

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...do you honestly think that the poster I responded to was banging on about MANAGED feral cat populations? Come on now.

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Am I the poster "banging on about"? Because I was. There are several MANAGED feral cat populations that started as abandoned housecats or have scared, starving abandoned pets on their fringes. TNR can MANAGE the problem but it's not going to stop until people take responsibility for the lives of their pets.

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I vote for trapping and putting down the feral cats, and keeping trash secure and using traps to deal with any rat and mouse problems.

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More cats move in.

Been tried, has failed. NEXT!

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Then why would trap-neuter-return be any better? By that logic, once the sterile cats die, more cats move in. Or the lack of kittens would be a vacuum that would cause more cats to move in. And what have you accomplished?

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die gradually. Perhaps more feral cats would show up but the rate would slow down to a manageable pace.

Although, now that the coyotes are here, there won't be feral cats for much longer.

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securing trash

haha

you think we're gonna win the battle against the rats, do ya now?

furthermore, you think it will be done by removing one of their chief predators?

well, hell, i'll try anything once, lets do it

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It might help to research a bit before suggesting things like this. Trapping and euthanizing feral colonies is not a new idea. It's just more expensive and less effective than TNR.

With respect to cost: It's about $50–$60 to trap, neuter AND vaccinate, and return feral cats; sometimes less depending where it's done. This is often done in high-volume, low-cost clinics where tens of cats are TNRed in a day. I volunteered at one recently where around 50 cats were TNRed all at once. Trapping and euthanizing is more expensive, at around $100 a day (plus good luck getting the folks who care about cats enough to volunteer at the TNR clinics and keep the costs low to volunteer to come out and murder these cats). Source for costs: http://www.havahart.com/blog/benefits-tnr-programs-euthanasia/

With respect to efficacy: Feral colonies tend to have a few dominant males who produce most of the offspring. They're also the ones who do the most fighting, and probably the ones who you hear yowling at night if you live in an area with unneutered cats. The submissive males do not produce offspring because the dominant males do not let them. When cats are trapped and neutered, the dominant males (and submissive males, though dominant males tend to get trapped more easily as they are often braver about going into traps) are returned and continue to maintain this hierarchy, but can no longer produce offspring. Furthermore, cats who are determined to be friendly once they wake up from their neuter procedure can be adopted into homes and live much better lives.

When cats are trapped and euthanized, it tends to be the dominant males (though submissive males and female cats too) who are trapped. This leaves a vacuum, and more submissive males (often more cats than there were dominant males) will come in and begin reproducing with the remaining unspayed females. So trapping and euthanizing these cats makes no difference in the number of cats on the street. Source for efficacy: http://www.alleycat.org/resources/why-trap-neuter-return-feral-cats-the-...

In the end, neither trapping and neutering nor trapping and euthanizing these cats is the solution. The only way to deal with this huge problem is education: teaching people that abandoning their cats is cruel and against the law (no, just because some cats can survive outside doesn't mean Fluffy the couch potato will know what to do when you kick him out), and that there are alternatives to abandoning their cats. A ton of shelters provide resources for families who are struggling to care for their cats, be it because of their own financial problems, allergies, or because of a cat's behavioral problems. And while most shelters request a donation when you surrender an animal to them, few shelters (and certainly not the MSPCA or the ARL here in Boston) will turn away an animal because its owner cannot afford the donation. And finally, people need to actually believe that abandoning their cat onto the streets will result in the hefty fine that can be (but isn't) enforced.

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We also have a very limited rat problem.

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i hear brighton will soon be host to some very interest job prospects for these lazy felines!

E: oh, besides the usual eating of rats, that is.

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She lives in the DORCHESTER area She's been doing this for years now all around the Dudley area and some she carries bags and bags of catfood, Terrible thing is she hates DOGS even goes around poisoning them with Food we all know dogs wont say no to food !! somebody put a stop to this PLEASE !!!

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she put lead in your water too

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Look no one is buying your stories. You must be surprised that other people have a different view of feeding starving animals than you do. No need to double-down with a tale about how the person who goes out of her way to keep one animal alive works to kill another at the same time. Thats makes total sense.

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SHE IS GREAT AT LEAST SHE FEEDS THEM SOME PEOPLE TRY TO RUN OVER THEM

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When will the madness end? Why isn't anyone thinking about my lawn?

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I'm willing to bet this lady did not put those cats there. She's feeding cats in your neighborhood that were abandoned by you or your neighbors, or cats who are the offspring of abandoned cats that were never fixed. There's a $5000 fine for abandoning cats, but it needs to be enforced and people need to be aware of it. That's the real problem here.

These cats are going to eat and make messes regardless of whether people like her are feeding them. The difference is that without her they'll root through your trash or kill more birds in order to get a meal.

A lot of the people who feed cats like she does are also helping with TNR (trap-neuter-return) efforts to ensure that these cats are neutered and vaccinated. This is helping address the cat population problems you're discussing, not contributing to it. The cats will not just go away if people stop feeding and TNRing; they'll keep breeding and they'll find food one way or another. And before anyone suggests rounding up these cats and euthanizing them en masse, studies have shown that euthanizing strays is ineffective at population control (google the "vacuum effect").

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My mum is a feral feeder in the suburbs. Over the last decade or so the colony she helps feed has gone from about 10 down to 1 now. They live in the corner of a tow yard, the guys keep an eye on them for any big medial issues and the cats have shelter from the elements. TNR is the best option for these cats, as many are unadoptable.

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Agree, feral cats of a certain age simply will not make housepets and to trap and keep them inside is stressful and cruel. At best, innovative programs like that Chicago organization that adopts them out to industrial spaces (breweries especially) can help get them placed. But ultimately, TNR combined with more responsible pet ownership is what's needed.

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The people who are complaining about the feral cats and any one feeding them are failing to ask themselves one simple question: how did the cats get there in the first place... Not asking that question ..that in and of itself is a problem. That shows that they are not willing to be educated on the population of feral cats roaming the greater Boston area in and around their neighborhoods and why that is happening. It is not the feeders or the cats that are the cause of trash issues. It is not the feeders that are bringing the cats into your neighborhoods. It is the people themselves who don't properly store their trash and are looking for an easy blame. It is your neighbors who have tossed unfixed cats out and have abandoned them. If you see a feeder out there most likely you are not aware that they are also working to TNR these feral and abandoned cats which in reality keeps the population down. They work to get the abandoned friendly's off the street and into an adoptable position for a loving home that won't abandon them again. It's an overwhelming task due to the number of people who have abandoned and continue to abandon these cats that have not been spayed or neutered. You think you see a feeder feeding a couple of cats and complain but the number of homeless cats is rampant through out Boston neighborhoods.. the numbers are in the 100's to say the least! Blaming the The people who are complaining about the feral cats and any one feeding them are failing to ask themselves one simple question: how did the cats get there in the first place... Not asking that question ..that in and of itself is a problem. That shows that they are not willing to be educated on the population of feral cats roaming the greater Boston area in and around their neighborhoods and why that is happening. It is not the feeders or the cats that are the cause of trash issues. It is not the feeders that are bringing the cats into your neighborhoods. It is the people themselves who don't properly store their trash and are looking for an easy blame. It is your neighbors who have tossed unfixed cats out and have abandoned them. If you see a feeder out there most likely you are not aware that they are also working to TNR these feral and abandoned cats which in reality keeps the population down. They work to get the abandoned friendly's off the street and into an adoptable position for a loving home that won't abandon them again. It's an overwhelming task due to the number of people who have abandoned and continue to abandon these cats that have not been spayed or neutered. You think you see a feeder feeding a couple of cats and complain but the number of homeless cats is rampant through out Boston neighborhoods.. the numbers are in the 100's to say the least! Blaming the people who feed, TNR, rescue friendly cats solves nothing..they are actually in your neighborhoods cleaning up the mess of careless, neglectful people who are living amongst you and have dumped their cat who will eventually breed and cause more cats to be running around in your neighborhood. If you are not going to get involved by at least educating yourself at the very least stop blaming the wrong people. An average unfixed cat can have 2 to 3 litters per year.. anywhere from 1 to 8 kittens each litter..those kittens can breed before they are a year old.. then those kittens of those kittens can continue the process..so when you see a feeder..know that they are most likely involved with TNR Trapping and Neutering and Returning the truly feral and getting the friendly abandoned ones off the street..They wouldn't have to do this if people didn't dump so many cats. For any one who thinks there should be a big round up of homeless cats and just euthanize them that that will solve the issue..You are so wrong!!!!!

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It only takes one unspayed female cat and one uneutered male cat to have a litter of 2-5 kittens; depending on the age of the female. A cat can become pregnant as early as 6 months old. Once the kittens are born, if they are not spayed or neutered, then they will have kittens of their own; and then they will have kittens and the cycle continues.

If a kitten is born outdoors, it will naturally be fearful of people; if he or she is rescued by the age of 6-8 weeks, then socializing him/her to people can be done; after 8 weeks, it takes time, patience and an experienced person to socialize the kitten. And if the kitten isn't trapped at an early enough age, he or she will become unadoptable.

As a fellow feeder and a person who volunteers for a feline rescue group, I can say from experience that the majority of the cats we see on the streets are those who have been house pets at one point in their life; they are dirty, starving, skinny, injured, near death; and uncared for. Abandoned.

As a rescue group, we have reunited lost and missing cats with their families. The abandoned, friendly cats we rescued have found new homes. Those who are unsocialized (feral) are spayed / neutered, vaccinated and returned to their home on the streets, with someone overseeing their care, (TNR - trap, neuter, return).

It is not only inhumane to abandon one's pet, it's Against the Law and carries a $5,000 fine.

And it is NOT illegal to feed stray cats.

Until your neighbors stop throwing out their cats like garbage, until your neighbors' cats are spayed and neutered, nothing will ever change.

So to the person who wrote the 311 complaint and to the others who are complaining about people feeding the homeless cats; Be Part of the Solution, talk to your neighbors, let them know it's illegal to abandon their cats, (they can bring them to a no kill shelter) let them know it carries a $5,000 fine, and please spay and neuter their cats!

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