Brent Panepucci writes “In regards to the feral feeding cat station at Pike Island Locks and Dam, these cats and their houses were ordered removed because the lockmaster said it would prevent them from getting grants as they want to develop the fisherman access I area into a park. I’m typing this as I am trying to trap the 2 cats that have made their home here. They have been here for 4-5 years and were trapped and released here as part of a trap-neuter-return program. This deeply saddens me as I have taken care of these cats for 3+ years.” (October 2017)
This raises the question: What is a legitimate park animal?” Squirrels: yes. Chipmunks: yes. Bison: yes. Birds: yes. Stray dogs: no. Raccoons? Hmmm … at a distance, yes, close by digging stuff out of the garbage, no. So which category do the feral cats fall into? If they’re running around with rabies biting people, no. But if people have cared for them enough that they don’t reproduce and don’t carry diseases, why not? How is a treated feral cat, with an outdoor home, different from a squirrel or a chipmunk? The research team actually was tickled to see the feral cats there — it was an additional attraction to an already charming park.
And — the research team ARE interested in public education! — a sign about the feral cats could lead the general public to learn more about them, and learn how to spay and neuter their own cats.
Whatever happens, thank you, Brent, for taking care of these cats all these years!