The neutering service we offer for pet cats and dogs is helping to reduce the numbers of unwanted pet kittens and puppies being born, but unfortunately, it does not take many irresponsible people to continually create new feral cat colonies on the streets by abandoning their un-neutered pet cats.
Literally, every street is home to feral and stray cats in the most deprived areas of East London. At night, when driving to sites where we are rescuing cats, we continually see cats crisscrossing the roads. Many are ragged looking tomcats dodging cars or ransacking rubbish bags. Often we arrive to rescue one mother and kittens, only to find many more cats which have not been reported to us but are in urgent need of help.
For instance, whilst attending to collect a stray cat having difficulty giving birth on a doorstep, we were beckoned across to help with a mother and five feral 7-week old kittens in a back garden and a tame heavily pregnant cat living in another front garden. At the other end of the street, at the rear of a small food shop, more cats were popping in and out from under a gate.
We returned that night, parked the van, and watched. In the early hours of the morning three scrawny tabby cats came and snatched at the food we put out to tempt them. One had a badly injured eye. A tatty black and white male joined them. He was thin, battle scarred and had an abscess on his cheek. Then a tabby kitten, with a grossly infected eye, ran out to try to get some food. It wasn't brave enough to push between the adults and ran back under the gate. Another feline shape could be seen creeping along in our direction under the cars. Out came an emaciated black cat, fur turning brown, due to his poor condition. He only had one ear. A fourth tabby cat appeared, obviously a female. She was very thin and had patches of fur missing. Another kitten, black and white, appeared from under the gate. This time, both kittens got some food to eat and then darted back.
We left a leaflet for the shopkeeper, and returned the next day to speak to him. He didn't want the cats, and didn't feed them they just scavenged rubbish at the back of his shop. Full as we were, we decided these cats could not be left in this situation. The point of telling you this story is to show that one evenings work, supposedly to collect one cat having kittens on a doorstep, resulted in the Trust taking in 15 cats and kittens.
Appalling Problem... In some areas, stray cats and kittens are everywhere and, rather like the large urban fox population, very few of them are fed, so their numbers are similarly controlled by disease, starvation and road accidents. However, cats breed even more rapidly than foxes, so the situation is desperate in many areas. The only way to solve this appalling problem is to control the domestic cat population through neutering, and to neuter and return ferals where there is a food source or a feeder. Where there is no identifiable access to food and the cats appear starving, we remove, neuter and rehome them, having restored them to good health.
By humanely reducing the cat and dog population through intensive neutering, we feel that the status of these animals will improve, and they will be seen to be worthy of respect and consideration.