The little darlin’ is pregnant again! Not much bigger than a kitten herself, she seems to be “in a family way” two or three times a year. She and her broods take refuge under the porch of the rental house across the street. From my front windows I can see her slip furtively through the crack between the concrete steps and the warped wood siding to tend to her kittens. As the kittens get a little older, it’s fun to watch them tumble around on the grass, running to hide under my neighbor’s car when anyone approaches. The lady next door — in our neighborhood we call her “the cat lady” — feeds her and her growing number of offspring as well as at least eight or 10 other “regulars” all year. In her backyard she keeps a huge dish of kibble and another of water filled year-round. Her heart is in the right place, but her humanitarian actions have created a serious problem in our neighborhood.
The cats that now populate our street regularly pee on our front doors and porches to mark their territory. The paint is peeling off my neighbor’s newly painted siding, from the height of two feet down. They soak the cushions of our porch furniture with urine. They defecate and pee in our gardens, repulsing unwary gardeners. They stalk our bird feeders and hide in our garages, swiping and hissing when we try to shoo them away. I don’t open my kitchen window anymore because the odor of cat urine is so strong. The bushes under my kitchen window seem to have become a public urinal for the neighborhood colony. Their shrieks and cries pierce the night. And sometimes I find one torn, bloody and dying in the street, not fast enough to dodge the cars that pound up our hill despite the speed bumps.
I love cats. I have adopted four of my own. But feral cats are a menace to our neighborhood. Feral cats are non-domesticated cats that are born and live in the wild. Unlike domesticated strays, they have never had a home and are considered wild animals. Self-sufficient hunters, feral cats often live in colonies of 10 or more, adapting efficiently to the “wilds” of our neighborhoods. Colonies can seriously deplete natural wildlife populations, feeding on songbirds, rabbits, chipmunks, rodents and other small animals. They pose a serious threat to domesticated pets who encroach into their territory.
Most seriously, feral cats can transmit to humans and domestic pets diseases such as rabies, the plague, ringworm, toxoplasmosis, mumps, cat scratch fever, feline leukemia and feline distemper. You don’t have to come into contact with an infected cat to catch some of these diseases. If your child mistakes cat feces for a lump of sand while playing in his sandbox, he is at risk. If you unwittingly expose yourself to cat feces while digging in your garden, you risk contracting or spreading disease to your family and pets.
The removal and control of feral cats is a job for professionals. Wily and fierce, they will protect themselves, their broods and their territory with tooth and claw. You put yourself at serious risk if you try to trap them yourself. If you have a feral cat problem, call the pest control and pest management experts at Stern Environmental Group. Our skilled and experienced professionals can solve the problem without risk to your family’s health and welfare. Click the post title to find out more about our wildlife control services. Visit our website for information about our full scope of pest control and pest management services. You’ll sleep well tonight when you get “Stern” with your pests.