America is about to drown in a sea of ​​kittens

Scientists, conservationists and cat advocates all agree that uncontrolled outdoor cat populations are a problem, but they remain deeply divided on solutions. While some conservationists have proposed targeted killing of cats, known as culling, cat populations have been observed to rebound rapidly, with a single female cat and her offspring producing at least 100 offspring in just seven years, If not thousands.

While spay and neuter options such as “trap, neuter and release” are favored by many cat rescue groups, Lepchik said it’s nearly impossible to do it effectively, in part because of the freedom these animals have to roam and reproduce speed. Without a home or shelter after neutering, bringing cats back outdoors means they may have a reduced quality of life, spread disease and continue to harm wildlife. “No matter what technique you use, if you don’t prevent new cats from entering the landscape, it doesn’t matter,” Lepcik said.

Rescue shelters, already under pressure from resource and veterinary shortages, are struggling to cope with the new reality. While some agencies publish materials to help communities determine when outdoor kittens need intervention, others are focused on recruiting foster volunteer programs, which are critical for kittens who need around-the-clock care.

“As the population continues to explode, how do we address these little lives that need our help?” Dunn said. “We’re giving it everything we have.”

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