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:
3/15/2018 12:00:15 am
Best documented argument I’ve ever heard about TNR and being compassionate towards homeless cats. Thank you.
2/19/2019 03:35:08 pm
I am using this information to pass on to my management company of my apartment complex, since they are animal friendly (allow pets in apts.) and want to do the right thing, but don't know about these charity services.
7/23/2019 09:14:56 am
Our city has adopted a no food, water or shelter for feral cats. We tried convincing the city council that this was animal cruelty but they could care less and wouldn’t change their mind. Not sure what to do at this point.
2/18/2020 10:12:38 am
Michael - what City adopted an ordinance to prohibit feeding feral cats?
3/3/2020 10:26:21 am
Coral Springs has this nonsense law
2/1/2020 06:50:20 am
I would be in jail if my municipality made it illegal to care for feral cats. Is it legal to enforce laws based on willful ignorance? I would be the one to challenge these types of laws, and also to break them if needed.
12/4/2020 12:09:19 pm
I have received a summons with fine of $1100.00 because I feed cats and some of them are in the street. Court date a month from now. A person complained that they almost hit the cats in the street and its my fault they are there. Someone has already run over 4 cats recently. Want judge to reduce the fine if possible. Am looking for tips on the RIGHT things to say to him if anyone has had this experience. I love cats, participate in TNR, but also find it horribly difficult to ignore a hungry cat.
7/8/2022 07:43:37 am
That's what I thought I had to pay. Actually more. Had the first warning hearing in 2019. Why don't they be clearer. Now it's 2022. I can't do jail have a sick mom. I'll take a fine and probation. I inherited this ban from my dad he has passed the day I go to court a year ago. All he did was bring food to my house for 30 yrs. Mixed up family not helpful really.
11/11/2021 12:01:24 pm
On Tuesday, 11-16-21 I have to meet before our HOA board as it was reported that I have been feeding several feral cats. In fact, I have TNR'd 2 and have been feeding them for about 3 years now. These cats, I found out from speaking with co owners, have lived them almost 9 years now. I live in Michigan and we have no laws regarding feral cats but the complex has a law that no animal can be left outdoors without a leash and have also stated that "feeding a feral cat for 3 or more days constitutes ownership but I have yet to find this particular rule. They have not yet imposed fines but intend to do so if I don't agree to stop feeding. They are not feral but are community cats who meow, purr and will let me pet them. The only thing they don't want to do is to come inside to live. So frustrated as I know they are not going to budge on this.
5/12/2022 04:46:06 am
Feeding ban laws, ordinances, and policies are ineffectual and foolish regulations. Feeding prohibitions are ineffective and unsupported by science. Feral cats cannot be eradicated by starvation since other food sources exist as a result of urban and suburban surroundings.
5/12/2022 04:48:23 am
If you stop feeding the cats, they will most likely stay in the same spot but will have to widen their hunt for food. The sheer number of hungry cats in the vicinity may cause confrontations with other cats and humans. Remove any sources of food or shelter from your property before removing wild cats.
4/6/2023 08:40:45 pm
I appreciate you making the claim that prohibitions cause illnesses to proliferate and encourage cats to hunt through the trash. My sister got a puppy. I'll advise her to get her dog spayed or neutered so that it won't spread any diseases.
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Alley Cat Rescue is leading in the way in promoting humane and compassionate care for ALL cats.