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Cat Licenses Aren't The Answer 

In response to H. Bruce Miller's recent article on outdoor cats [Posted on the Wandering Eye Blog, 9/24] I have a few questions. Mr. Miller seems to believe that the sole reason for the disappearance of birds from his neighborhood is due to the increased housecat population created by a new housing development nearby. Mr. Miller, do you think it could be the new development itself, and subsequent loss of habitat that could be the reason for the bird decline? In fact, in numerous studies done on the topic the number one cause of bird population decline is loss of habitat. Mr. Miller's solution to the problem of outdoor cats is to require that they be licensed the same as dogs. Who will be responsible for enforcing this? With an estimated 45,000 cats in Deschutes County, will we hire hundreds more animal control officers? Then what? When the "bird-killing" cats in question are hauled to the Humane Society, will the Humane Society be responsible for processing them, housing them and euthanizing them when their owners don't show up to claim them? I'm pretty sure they have their hands full as it is!

The only sensible idea Mr. Miller mentions is a method for controlling feral (undomesticated) cats called TNR, or trap, neuter, return. He, however, refers to this method as an "idiocy" using the argument that even an army of vets can't neuter as fast as cats can multiply. Do you think then, that an army of animal control officers can trap and kill cats faster than they can multiply? I would suggest that you do a little more research, Mr. Miller, as there are successful examples of TNR colonies all over the country and even here in Bend! In Washington D.C., Chicago and Portland there are hundreds of controlled colonies where healthy cats are living out their short lives without needing to prey on birds for food or being euthanized when it is both inhumane and proven ineffective in controlling feral cats. Cat lover or not, the sad truth is that outdoor cats (owned or not) will exist everywhere until irresponsible pet owners stop abandoning them and start getting all pets (and possibly irresponsible owners?) spayed and neutered! Spaying and neutering your pets should be the law, not more red tape license laws. Check out alleycat.org or locally you can call the Bend Spay and Neuter Project for more information on TNR and to find out how you can help outdoor cats in need!

Thanks!

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