Hypothetical colony care - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-04-2011, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Hypothetical colony care

I want to know people's opinions on this matter.
I realize that most TNR advocates discourage any euthanizing of cats, unless the cat were terminal anyway or in great pain with little chance of full recovery.
In a situation where a person could care for a colony, but with a few conditions/restrictions:
- income/resources are limited, so could properly care for only a few cats (say about 6 to 8 max)
- landlord barely tolerates the colony's presence (while not evicting resident, is not too pleased about all the cats around either)

The sickest, weakest, and generally in poor shape would be trapped and Animal Control come take them for euthenization/disposal.
This allows the few remaining healthier cats to THRIVE with proper amounts of food and enough shelter for everybody - rather than have a larger colony of everybody scrabbling for resources (food & shelter), and the weaker ones barely surviving harsh weather elements because of limited food/shelter.

So, basically... even though some cats will be euthanized, others get a better chance at life than they would have otherwise.

Is this acceptable? In terms of being all "good morals and ethics" kind of way? Or do you totally disagree, and think that EVERY cat should have a chance, even though it would be lower quality if life for each one?

(and yes, the remaining cats would all be fixed, so there doesn't end up being MORE cats needing taking care of)

The only other option for the "rejected" cats, would be relocation. However, it would have to be FAR away (so they couldn't try to come back), AND would have to be funded/done by whoever is taking the cats, rather than giving the cats...and that seems like quite a difficult undertaking.

Last edited by Vivid Dawn; 01-04-2011 at 12:46 PM. Reason: added info for relocating
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 07:23 PM
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wow, i guess this is why i hate hypothetical questions.

there certainly is a big part of me that says the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, but for some reason that doesn't work for me in regards to animals.

i guess this quote in regards to feral cats eloquently sums up my belief;

"Well-intentioned people argue that it is our humane responsibility to kill feral (cats) kindly, rather than let them face the rigors and perils of an uncertain future. When I observe a recently caught feral cat...I see a being not altogether unlike myself. If I were that feral (cat) - facing an immediate...death, or a chance at life - replete with all the perilous uncertainties it holds - I would choose life. And so for these feral (cats), I can choose no less."
Cole McFarland, Jr.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 07:47 PM
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I guess I would want a definition on sickest and weakest. If they have minor things like upper respiratories of even broken limbs and what not then that is one thing, but if they have deadly diseases ravaging their poor bodies and they are barely holding on as is then that is something completely different.

My community is very rural and doesn't have a whole lot of tolerance for strays and ferals. Our feral and stray problem is beyond out of control. It is not illegal to dump or abandon your cat here, it is your dog but not your cat. I was able to rehabilitate and find homes for one colony of strays, they definitely weren't feral. Some were sick, one was pregnant with 10 kittens. There is another lady that I was helping out who works with a truly feral colony of about 50 and is doing wonderful things for them. She traps and releases them so that they don't continue breeding and tries to keep tabs on them so that new ones that show up are immediately fixed. She takes all of the kittens after they are weaned and works hard to socialize them and find them homes. The cats that do show up that aren't truly feral she takes in and finds them homes. She keeps them vetted as best she can and treats conjunctivitis and other little problems that pop up. However the ones that are ravaged with disease and suffering she puts to sleep, usually at the vets recommendation because the invasiveness of treatment would be intense and the cat could die alone just from the stress of the whole situation. She has to weigh the physical and psychological effects her work has on the cats, for good or for bad. She says it's hard, especially when you invest so much in them and find them dead on the road or catch someone shooting at them. But she is passionate about helping them and is very diligent about getting the laws changed and forcing the community to address the issue. I admire her so much.

Last edited by Pawsitively Nicole; 02-14-2011 at 07:49 PM.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 09:51 PM
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The above two replies were well thought out and well stated; thank you both for your insight. I read this question by the OP without knowing how to answer it.

Whaler - that's a great quote. If I were a feral cat I would make the same choice - life - regardless of the consequences.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-14-2011, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Sigh... well, okay it's not hypothetical. It's actually MY colony. I'm so torn on what to do. I can only afford to feed 4 cereal bowls full of the cheapest kibble, and right now those 4 bowls are being shared between at least 7 cats (that I know of). One of the cats barely weighs 4 pounds (as of Thanksgiving time) because she doesn't get enough. I did treat the little one for pneumonia, as I had money then... now I only have $20 at the end of the month, and that still needs to buy me groceries!

One cat must have neurological issues because she always acts drunk (wobbles/shakes, walks 'sideways', and I've never seen her run, even if trying to get away from me). Another cat's nose is all swollen from having infected scratches from all the fights he gets into...mostly bullying everybody else away from the food. He held off another cat for 15 minutes the other day, before I finally went and scared him off so everybody else could come eat.
Plus, of course, my landlord doesn't even want them there anyway.

AURGH! I hate this situation...
Personally really I do have the opinion of letting the few thrive, than everybody struggle and compete and be barely making it. It's getting warmer, and I'll start trapping...I gotta decide who to TNR and who to put down (I think I'll definitely have "drunken" one euthanized, as she's not getting better at all the last couple months).
But apparently nobody else thinks that's the right choice. :/ I don't want to be considered the bad guy or evil, etc. ...but I feel bad for watching cats suffer with pitiful lives, too.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 12:05 AM
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I don't know about help with medical expenses (perhaps Feral Cat Coalition could help), but one thing you can do is talk to your local stores like Bi Mart or WalMart. A lot of time they just throw their expired foods in the trash. I know they give this lady their expired cat food instead of tossing it. I know it tends to not be the best food in the world, however it is better than nothing. I can't guarantee that the stores will be willing to do that, but that is what the lady I know does. Also talk to some shelters, they might have food they can donate. The shelter I worked for only used one brand of food for all of the shelter kitties, so any donated food that we couldn't use we would give to this lady that fed the ferals.

It's hard to decide what is fair and humane because people see it differently. I know one woman who looks down on anyone who puts any animal to sleep for any reason. She forced a dog who was only 2 years away from his breeds average life expectancy to go through heart worm treatment (a major infestation). He also on top of this had cancer and severe muscle atrophy throughout his body. I consider her actions cruel for making that poor dog suffer. She called me a murderer for thinking that he should be put to sleep. I think that you want to do the right thing for these kitties. Not many people are compassionate towards ferals and are willing to help them in any way, let alone dare spend their own money on them. I think it is special that you want to help them and do right by them. No matter your decision you should be respected for that.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Nicole. I'm hoping others agree with your last couple sentences!
I just want what's best for everybody, and sometimes it's hard to know what that is or how to compromise.

I doubt the Wal-Mart would help. One time I asked if they could save empty boxes for the local rescue program because we use them as litter boxes on adoption days, and I got told it was "too inconvenient" to save empty boxes. They just throw them all away, and didn't want to bother storing them, even overnight. I could ask other stores though, I guess. I did just get a donation of 50 lbs of kibble, so that should last me a couple months so I have time to find something else then. But it's really low quality, and gives cats horrible diarrhea

I read an article about some ferret who had skin disease, epilepsy (so bad it was a couple seizures a day), blind, and a few other things... and this shelter kept him alive on IVs and all sorts of junk. I figured it would have been better just to let the poor little guy go. I understand "no kill" shelters don't want to euthanize if they don't have to... but there's a point where the animal really does need it.
I have already decided about Paizly and Nebbie that if they get something terminal, or would cause them constant pain - with or without meds - that I would relieve them of such a life.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 05:17 AM
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One place you can ask for food too, although it's more of a long shot, is veterinarians in your area. I know a lot donate their expired food to shelters, but some don't. This could potentially work in your favor too. If you use them to bring your ferals in you give them steady business. Kind of a 'You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' sort of deal. Perhaps there is one that you can hook up with. That definitely would be better food than what you would find at BiMart

I do agree and believe that there are circumstances in which the more humane thing to do is euthanize. I apply that to myself as well. There are circumstances that I know I would rather my family allow me to pass on then keep me suffering. Sometimes the most loving thing one can do is set aside themselves and let their loved one pass on to peace.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 05:16 PM
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I have no real input into the "to kill...or not to kill.." debate, but that 'drunken' kitty might have CH. I know there are some people here who have CH kitties, thought you might want to know.

Also, could you feed the cats any old meat you have, like say that has freezer burn, but nothing really wrong with it otherwise?
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 07:28 PM
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Be inventive. Ask around who might supply you with cat food. Even food banks give out opened bags of cat and dog food. One of the shelters here donates all the food donated to them that isnt science diet to the food bank. Ask at feed stores. Ask rescues if they have any to spare. Put a message on Craigs list to see if anyone would donate.

Have you ever tried fish mox for infections in cats? It can be added to wet food that the feral are eating. It worked for us in our colonies.

We were called into a hording situation by the police. We heard there were 40 or more cats in bad shape. Before we saw them we demanded no cat be put down. But when we got there it was sickening. Their fur was literally moving from all the fleas and had ringworm and URI.. they were in such bad shape. We couldnt not have brought them around to health. So we let the animal control take several of them. If a cat is suffering and you can help it get better it is humane to put that cat down. Of the over 950 cats we TNR we have put down 57.

Are they true ferals? or could you take ones home to medically treat them? That would help you decide.
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