Proposed bans on the feeding of feral cats have come up time and time again as a potential solution to cat overpopulation. These bans incorrectly assume that if people stop feeding feral cats, they will simply leave the area and the problem will be over. This is not the case. Feeding bans are not only ineffective, but cruel. They suddenly cut off an expected source of food for cats and criminalize compassion. Alley Cat Rescue opposes feeding bans and is working towards ensuring more cities implement trap-neuter-return as a humane solution to cat overpopulation.
Cats are scavengers and will search to find food. If a feeding ban is enacted, the cats often will stay in the area and find a new source of food. The cats will eat garbage, scraps or other animals which do not provide cats with the nutrients they need. Malnourished cats are more susceptible to diseases and parasites. Because feeding bans do not address reproduction at all, the malnourished cats will often give birth to sick kittens who will die at a young age.
Feeding bans actually create more nuisance behaviors than they eliminate. The bans encourage cats to search through garbage, fails to spay/neuter cats and leads to the spread of diseases. Cats without a solid source of food will wander around towns more than cats who have an area where they know they will be fed at. The feeding bans also make trap-neuter-return (TNR) almost impossible because the cat caretakers cannot lure the cats to the traps with wet food. TNR ends these nuisance behaviors while also stopping reproduction.
Cat caretakers are compassionate people who want to help cats in their area. Compassion should not be criminalized but encouraged. Without cat caretakers feeding and TNRing cats, many more cats would suffer. Further, the enforcement of feeding bans is very difficult and resource intensive. Areas that want to address cat overpopulation should instead implement TNR. If your town or city is considering a feeding ban please reach out to your government and tell them:
Alley Cat Rescue is leading in the way in promoting humane and compassionate care for ALL cats.