20,000 Pet and Feral Cats To Die in Hawaii?

As a former stray I was alarmed to read this blog post about the possibility that up to 20,000 cats are at risk in the State of Hawaii, within Kauai Co Council in particular. Hawaii is known to many of us as a place of golden beaches, sunshine and an holiday refuge – but it seems that after a recent apparently ‘anti-cat’ $30,000 study  (see this article) there is a strong risk that the many feral cats may be killed.

  • If you think I am being a little bit over the top, check the list of ‘recommendations’ in the blog post. ‘Killing‘ is mentioned as an alternative THREE times. Several of the other measures would impact wholly negatively on family pets that may escape, or be allowed outside.

trailerparkkitties01a
YesBiscuit
 is the blog that posted about this comments :-

In effect, the recommendations target outdoor cats for extermination – potentially including indoor cats who escape their homes – and punish colony caretakers with licensing fees and unreasonable restrictions making it impossible for them to reduce the colony size over time. The TNR program as outlined is destined to fail by design. This is what you get when you commission a report from people who want to kill cats.

Read their blog post, commit to writing to expressing your concern, and urge the Council to do the following for feral cats :-

  • Urge the Council to work with the Feral advocates and local pet owners to see what can be done.
  • One feral advocate “….. lamented that experienced TNR supporters were barred from participating during the decision making work session of the task force, resulting in a lop-sided set of recommendations favoring cat eradication”.
  • Read the article – it is helpful and reasonable. There is also an interesting discussion at the bottom, in the comments, with a respondent who does not believe TNR works. It is a credit to the blog that it allows informed discussion with pro and anti both getting a say.
  • Remain reasonable at all times when you write or email – focus on the negative impact to the State’s economy that this news will have worldwide. Do not fall into the trap of ranting like a crazy fanatic, it does not help the cats.
  • Colleague Jackson Taylor in FB pointed out the following :-
    Large cities like Chicago, New York have realized the importance of having a viable feral population in the fight against rats. Thus they have revved up their TNR programs.
    Worth mentioning to the Council.
  • Anyone wishing to get in touch with polite comments supporting TNR and opposing cat extermination and the criminalization of cat owners should email: Councilmembers@kauai.gov

UPDATE:- Blogger Savannah’s Paw Tracks has an update featuring Hawaiian cats and news in her post Island Cats at Risk.

Feral cats – petitions

One last thing Suggestions have been made about raising a petition. However, I was told by the Barbi Twins (FB and Twitter) that petitions do not work. They are ignored and have no effect on the people they are aimed it.  Writing to the Council means they have to respond. These days people think a petition solves everything, it doesn’t. The only things that works is urging representatives to act directly.

I was a stray once, in Hawaii I might be a stray whose days are numbered – please act now – in 2016!

Harvey Button
Former Stray
Harvey Middle Earth Monday Correspondent

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  1. Harvey, I understand your concern. We will look into this. Frankly, having visited the islands many times; and Kauai several, the driving motivation for all the islands is tourism. That is their only economic driver. There are no longer any industries located there such as sugar cane and pineapple farms. We will certainly be sending emails to the appropriate government official. Interestingly enough is that Kauai, after the devastating hurricane around 1988-89, Iniki I think…they allowed a HUGE feral chicken population to flourish…unabated. And that island is still over run with chickens. A wonderment that cats are an issue…we will act
    Savannah’s Paw Tracks recently posted…A Real Rescue Human Is Talking: Monday Meowsie NewsMy Profile

  2. This is awful. We were aware that Hawaii recently had a panleuk outbreak that caught everyone off guard, but we hadn’t heard this was going on. Savannah is right that keeping the economy of the area in mind is a good idea. We live in a tourism-driven area and have seen threatened boycotts, etc. ignored, so approaching them with facts and logic about enlightened feral cat management is probably going to get further than “cat lovers won’t vacation with you while you do this.” Not that you would say that, Harvey, but we fear that’s the knee-jerk reaction of a lot of people outside of the blogosphere when lodging this kind of complaint.

    We’ll share this and get the word out.
    Sometimes Cats Herd You recently posted…Adorable Adoptables: Miss StellaMy Profile

  3. Such a terrible thing for these peeps to even consider doin’. Not just terrible but stupid, too. And spendin’ $30,000 on a study that surely must have been biased from the start – ’cause no one could really be so stupid as to not realize that if you get rid of all the feral cats, you’re gonna have rats? Think about what a great start that would have made for a really good TNR program and TNR works. Works way better than anything extermination. FACT.

    Purrs,
    Nissy
    Nerissa’s Life recently posted…in the doghouse, for sureMy Profile

  4. Now to top it off, the very unqualified, useless Director of the Kauai Humane Society has done this: We have been given some “guidelines” by the Kauai Humane Society for how they will deal with feral cats. The most troubling guideline is that we CANNOT bring in a total of MORE than 5 cats in one day to get spayed/neutered. We never know how many we are going to get on nights when we go trapping, and we have volunteers who trap all around the island. We guess this means that all trappers need to be in constant phone contact while trapping: “I have 3.” “OK, I have 3 also, which one of us is going to let one go?” And you can just imagine similar conversations… Certainly, we could keep the number we trap in excess of the 5 cat limit in traps for another day. But ferals do NOT do well spending time in traps, and we consider keeping them in traps for longer than necessary to be unacceptable and harmful.

    Last week, one of our trappers caught 9 cats in one night — an amazing accomplishment! When the trapper took the cats in to KHS the next day, she was told that there was a 5 cat limit: and that was the FIRST time we had heard that. In trying to sort that out, we received an email from the Director saying that the staff at the front desk had misunderstood, and there was NO limit. (NOTE: the trapper was allowed to have all 9 fixed that day, as a one time thing.) Fast forward a few days, and we are presented with these guidelines from the Director. Here is the language from the guidelines: “Please bring in no more than 5 feral cats at a time. We may accommodate more than 5 feral cats in our surgery schedule and only on a space-available basis. We recommend that you check our surgery schedule in advance in case of non-surgery days.” OK, so we *might* be allowed more than 5 in certain circumstances which we will not know until we show up at KHS with trapped ferals.

    How are we supposed to make a dent in the number of ferals with limitations like this? Certainly, there are days when we do NOT trap any cats. And there have been plenty of days when multiple trappers each catch several cats. Also, sometimes we have to go back for several days in a row to trap either a specific group of cats or the litters of kittens that seem to always be present. Are we now only permitted to bring in 5 kittens, even if the litter is bigger? We have been told that if we are going to conduct a mass trapping — of more than 10 — we should call ahead of time to schedule a special “feral fix” day. Trapping is opportunistic: we can’t plan how many cats we’ll get, so how can we know AHEAD of time how many we are going to trap on any given night?

    We have also had to call each and every week in order to find out what days spays/neuters will be done for ferals that week — with no set days from week to week. Now this. Where does it end? We desperately need an alternative to conducting spays/neuters at KHS, and we are hopeful that some island veterinarians will help us find a solution.

  5. Might be useful to remind these people — and I use that term VERY loosely — that ALL cats in ALL 50 USA States are protected by law, with jail terms, fines, etc., for all criminals convicted of abusing and/or neglecting ANY cat. That applies to feral, outdoor free-roaming, and all other cats. Definitely ACA needs to be pre-emptive on this.