I have written quite a lot here about dogs, stray dogs, my own dogs, and adopting dogs. I have written less about cats.
Readers know that Stray Rescue and other groups have become adoption and care centers for dogs picked up by the City's animal control officers.
The closing of the City's obsolete and inhumane pound on Gasconade has affected cats as well. And stray cats will be cared for by the same new partners as stray dogs.
But, two longer-range ideas are being discussed by animal welfare advocates and city officials, both of which are worth mentioning.
The first is to begin consideration of a new citywide policy requiring that all non-breeding cats and dogs be spayed or neutered. The second is to consider a spay/neuter and release program for some healthy cats.
Neither idea is past the discussion stage. And there will be time for a lot more of it..
But, 6 to 8 millions animals are euthanized in the US every year; thousands in the St. Louis region. A fertile cat and her offspring can produce thousands of cats in a very short time. Spay/neuter programs, which already exist at most local pet adoption agencies, are actually humane choices. If cost were eliminated as a factor, could spay/neutering become a requirement of animal registration in the City?
The second idea had not occurred to me until Pam Walker mentioned it recently. Why not neuter/spay and release some of the dozens of feral (street-born, not runaway) cats the City collects each month? There are certainly many more cats than prospective cat owners, and feral cats actually perform a useful role of reducing the rodent population. They do not, contrary to popular belief, reduce the number of songbirds or raid bird nests.
Neither idea is purrfect, but I think it is time to begin a public discussion.