We believe all feral cats should not be painted with the same brush. Many feral cats do have the potential to live comfortably indoors once given the opportunity. There are many TNR (trapped, neutered, released) advocacy organizations that recommend to not give these cats a chance at a life safe indoors because they are too “wild” and would therefore be unhappy. We do not agree with this philosophy. Susie had been living outside after being TNR over ten years ago. As she aged we did everything we could to rescue her off the street, but her TNR experience had traumatized her and prevented her from re-entering a live trap. After a few years of feeding her we were able to feed her inside a cat carrier and that is how she was rescued. We brought her to a no kill rescue where she is happily residing, retired from the great outdoors. She was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and is receiving treatment. If she had not been returned back to the street when she was caught over ten years ago, there is no doubt her chances of living a healthy life would have been greater, illnesses caught earlier, and perhaps her left paw would not have been injured. The feral cats of Toronto are an invasive species. They hunt and kill indigenous wildlife. They are not meant to be exposed to the harsh winter weather conditions we experience here in Toronto. Placing winter shelters for them helps, of course – but that is not a life, that is survival. When these TNR cats age and become old and frail, there is often no one to aid them to transition to the next life via humane euthanasia, and they suffer alone outside and become targets of predators. This problem is a product of human exploitation of felines, breeders, and irresponsible cat owners.
“Estimates place the number of homeless cats in Toronto at between 20,000 and 100,000.”Toronto Humane Society
“About two-thirds of the bird deaths were attributed to feral cats, living wild. As birds’ total U.S. population at any given moment has been estimated at around 10 billion to 20 billion, that feral cat toll would probably exceed all mortality from window strikes, roadkill, pesticides, pollution, windmills, and all other unnatural causes combined, except habitat loss and possibly climate change—a staggering thought.” This story appears in the October 2019 issue of National Geographic magazine.