Many people, myself included, aren’t likely to file cats under the heading of pest control dilemmas. To anyone–okay, to most people–who have lived with pet felines, the notion of lumping in the adorable, inspirational kitten who’s been so diligently hanging in there for so many decades in the same category of vermin as rats, bedbugs and people who hold open subway doors is anathema.
Despite an inclination to see most cats as pets rather than pests, colonies of cats make nuisances of themselves throughout the city. According to Neighborhood Cats, which helps monitor and manage colonies around town (through a searchable database, no less), most of the nuisance behavior, like fighting, noise making and marking territory, are unfortunate side effects of the mating drive. In this way, feral cats are not unlike another pest driven to asinine behavior by mating instincts, the common frat boy, homo erectus brohanicus.
Which is why groups like Neighborhood Cats, working with city government, have instituted a Trap-Neuter-Return policy. Thousands of volunteers monitor put life and limb – well, at least limb – at risk to monitor and capture ferals that are then sterilized and returned to their natural habitat. While it may seem sad that these cats can’t be adopted into loving homes–like frat boys, they’re not socialized to human behavior and don’t make great house guests–sterilizing not only cuts down on late night cat fights, it also ensures that they can’t go on to produce future generations of ferals.
But if you do want to learn how to provide some sort of home for local ferals, take a helpful tip from the cat lady below.