Letter: Gazette only gave one side of feral cat dispute

October 24, 2014
By

I am writing to express my disappointment that your article about the feral/roaming cat colony being maintained on Greenley Place over-sensationalized and did not entirely reflect the ongoing situation (“Feral felines spur neighborhood catfight,” Oct. 10.)

Yes, I have been living with the cat colony for about eight years and yes, the cats have damaged my property and defecate and urinate in my garden beds and vegetable beds and create other problems in my yard, especially as concerns my dog. But I have lived with it (I was not the person who called the city), and even allowed my downstairs tenants to adopt two of the kittens from the original cat colony.

As I explained to Ms. Oliveira, though, my issue is that the colony has grown under the management of my neighbors Mark and Suzanne. What started out as one mother cat and her kittens being cared for by Mark and Suzanne is now a colony of eight or nine adult cats, many of whom are unrelated.

When I first started having issues with the colony, I did what any neighbor would do and spoke to Mark and Suzanne about it. I indicated to them that I was fine with the cats as long as the food wasn’t left out overnight and as long as no new cats were added. Unfortunately, these concerns fell on deaf ears, resulting in the complaint to the city—by another of my neighbors—that a wild animal was observed late at night feeding off of the cat food that had been left out.

Basically, what was not made clear in this article is that the current colony does not resemble the original one, as many new adult cats have been incorporated into the colony over the past several years. Mark and Suzanne led me to believe that the colony would only decrease in size through attrition and their efforts to find homes for the cats, but instead the number of cats being fed and sheltered has increased with no end in sight.

Therefore, when I heard from a neighbor that the city was having an inspection of the neighborhood, myself and five other neighbors were more than happy to finally have someone who might listen to our concerns about not only how eight or nine feral/roaming cats affect our homes and yards in this densely knit neighborhood, but also how the colony was being controlled and managed.

There are obviously two sides to this issue but your article only accurately reflected one of them.

Michael Stone

Jamaica Plain

Editor’s Note: A correction regarding this story appears on page 2.

  • hubcats

    I sympathize with Mr Stone. He wasn’t sold a bill of goods – properly implemented, Trap-Neuter-Return DOES result in decreased colony size. Assuming (or, hoping) that all the cats being fed are neutered (and he says the cats are unrelated), the other ‘potential for growth’ comes from a densely populated, transient neighborhood teeming with abandoned, un-neutered pets and their feral offspring. The Greenley Place caregivers didn’t create these cats! Cats are free-roaming in the back yards of the neighborhood, breeding, defecating and looking for food. Is the solution really to take up the food so as not to attract them? Let someone else – who won’t neuter them – feed them? I agree that the burden of this neighborhood issue falls unfairly on Mr Stone, but also, on the caregivers of this colony, who are being overwhelmed. The wider neighborhood needs to get involved: improve access to spay/neuter for low-income, non-English speaking and elderly neighbors. TNR for cats that roam outside.

    • kitcatkitty

      These cats should not be inflicted upon others. Colony size is not population size. TNR has never worked as a population reduction tool. And in this case, the colony didn’t even decrease.

      Improve access to spay-neuter for owned pets, sure. But these cats need to be removed. Enough is enough. Free-roaming cats decimate wildlife, increase risks to public health, and are a nuisance.

      We don’t tolerate this for dogs. Cats should be removed.

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