Thursday, October 17, 2013

Time to solve our feral cat problem

Jay is a neutered Barn Cat. Not a
feral, but not exactly a pet either,
Jay is ideal for solving your rodent
problems and is hoping you’ll put
him to work. Contact YHS at
445-2666 for more information.
Yesterday was National Feral Cat Day. At the Yavapai Humane Society everyday is Feral Cat Day!  In a perfect world, all cats would have a loving home. Unfortunately, unaltered cats permitted to roam freely either become feral or produce feral offspring. Feral means wild, meaning these cats are unsuitable as pets. Rather than kill feral cats YHS promotes reducing their numbers through a process called TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return). This process is managed through an YHS program called Operation FELIX (Feral Education and Love Instead of X-termination). 

Why not just kill feral cats? Besides being inhumane, these felines serve a valuable community purpose. Feral cats keep rodents in check; and they do this without the use of pest control chemicals that are toxic to the environment and dangerous to pets, wildlife and children. By reducing rodent populations, feral cats also help reduce the incidence of many diseases carried by rodents, including the Plague, Leptospirosis and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome..

Feral cats are how a community controls rodent infestation and disease; TNR is how a community controls its feral cat population.

Leonardo Fibonacci, a preeminent mathematician during the Middle Ages, created a formula relating to agriculture productivity. Six centuries later, Louis Pasteur, used this model to accurately predict that 70 percent of a susceptible population has to be vaccinated to prevent an epidemic of a contagious disease. This discovery came to be known as Fibonacci's 70 percent Rule which is recognized today by the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control.

If we consider sterilization as a method of "vaccinating" feral cats against the "disease" of overpopulation then, according to the Fibonacci Rule, 70 percent of the susceptible population in the Quad-City region must be sterile to affect a population decrease. Once the 70 percent rate is achieved, the transmission odds (successful breeding encounters) of the remaining 30 percent will only be enough to replace normal attrition.

YHS has secured grants to help fund Operation FELIX, but to achieve 70 percent more help is needed. Municipal leaders can help by allocating monies to help fund Operation FELIX. YHS will match each municipality's allocation to this program with dedicated grant monies to help their respective neighborhoods. 

As a community we can choose to pay the modest costs of funding targeted spay/neuter programs designed to fix the problem or we can return to paying the ever increasing costs of catching and killing animals. YHS promotes proactive solutions and hopes you'll support this effort by sending a donation to "Operation FELIX" or by volunteering to help staff this program. For more information, visit or call 445-2666 to sign up for a TNR class.

If you currently manage or feed a feral cat colony, call the YHS Spay/Neuter Clinic to schedule an appointment to have your cats sterilized. Grant monies may allow you to have this done for free. Call 771-0547 for more information.

Ed Boks Ed Boksis the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at or by calling 445-2666, ext. 21.