| Please welcome back friend and guest-blogger Ali’ilani Kanui AKA Kit Ellison.|
Kit and her family love animals, especially feral cats and have canvassed for a
Ferry system on the Hawaiian Islands for many years.
Kit is part Hawaiian and a long time
resident of Wailua on the Garden Isle of Kaua'i.
I have read, spoken with, listened and watched with many people over the issue of the feral cat problem on Kauai. Each person added one or more pieces to the puzzle but no one, as of yet, put the pieces together. Please allow me to try to do so.
Yes, feral cats are necessary to the ecosystem as they keep rat and mice populations in check and yes they need to be neutered and spayed and placed in established colonies as they will hunt within a one-mile radius of their colony. This is on the plus side.
As far as ground nesting birds are concerned, cats don’t generally try for dinner that causes them trouble without them starving. Rats and wild dogs have proven to be a larger problem in that area. If dogs and rats were eliminated more chicks could be raised.
People at their own expense feed ferals, trap, spay/neuter, and generally see to the cats that are in colonies. This means no monies came from taxes for these services. Another plus.
Question, why are there so many feral cats on Kauai? That is easily answered by an article in TGI about kittens killed.
For one thing, many people can not afford the cost of spay/neuter at the vet and are afraid to use the pound because their cat can show fear and/or anxiety and be put down because it’s a “feral and they have that right” so Bobby or Sissy cat are free to litter away. What will happen to these unwanted kittens? Take them to the animal shelter to be killed?
No, they get dropped in areas where there are other cats to have a fighting chance. I have seen this too many times for it not to be true. One person told me, “If I take these kittens to the pound they will be dead before I can get to my car.” Many people I spoke with feel this way.
Solution? Start a no-kill shelter, ask island vets to donate one day a week or month to treat cats and kittens free of charge, humane society also. Forget tags, tattoo ears or chip at reduced price, first shots $10, ask for and you’ll find foster homes, and do what Lanai did. Get a place/space donated for a sanctuary where cats can find forever homes. It can be done. Anyone like to help?