Letters to the Editor: Cats are not safe outdoors
The recent case of rabies in a stray cat in Winchester is a reminder about the dangers of free-roaming cats and abandoning cats to fend for themselves (“Two people attacked by rabid cat,” Sept. 23 edition).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are approximately 300 cases involving human contact with rabid cats each year. That number is expected to rise with the increase of cruel and misguided “trap-neuter-release” programs, in which cats are abandoned on the streets to fend for themselves and exposed to myriad dangers, including deadly contagious diseases. Cats’ food stations attract wildlife (and more cats), which aids the spread of rabies from one animal to another and from cats to humans. Even if cats are vaccinated for rabies when they are trapped, it is often impossible to re-trap the cats for booster shots.
Cats are not safe outdoors and this cat’s death is just one more example why. To ensure the safety of cats and people, and to humanely and effectively address the homeless cat crisis, shelters must readily admit all cats – without surrender fees, waiting lists, or other impediments – and municipalities must require that all cats be spayed and neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, and kept indoors.
Teresa Chagrin, Animal Care & Control Specialist, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Norfolk