Ban of cat feeding has harmful repercussions
This month the City & County of Hono-lulu's Parks Department has established a policy that prohibits the feeding of homeless cats in all city parks. ("Park signs will specify no feeding of animals
," Star-Bulletin, Kokua Line, Oct. 2).
At the Hawaiian Humane Society, we believe that this policy is cruel and inhumane to animals that are already leading a difficult life in city parks, and does not acknowledge the important work of the hundreds of responsible cat colony caregivers throughout Oahu.
Last year, the Humane Society worked with more than 500 colony caregivers who have made homeless cats their personal responsibility. Feeding is just one part of what they do and an important strategy to gain the trust of these feral cats. Caregivers monitor the cats' health. They trap and remove kittens so that they can be socialized and adopted.
The caregivers also bring in cats to the Humane Society office for free sterilization. The cats live out their natural lives and the populations diminish over time.
Any policy that bans feeding of these colonies will likely disperse these cats throughout our community, and the feral cat population will increase dramatically.
Reducing cat overpopulation requires partnership from caring people, animal welfare organizations and governments to find humane solutions.
Coincidentally, National Feral Cat Day falls on Oct. 16. This day is a time during which communities across the nation recognize the plight of homeless cats that live in our communities.
Let us serve as an example of compassion to other communities across the country. It is only through working together that we can truly be successful in addressing this communitywide issue.
Pamela Burns is the president and chief
operating officer of the Hawaiian Humane Society.