Feral frenzy in Florida: Trapping cats and training people
One of my family members owns a small building with several apartment units just one block off one of the busiest roads in South Florida. He’s got a feral cat problem—dead kittens in the roadway, smelly toms around the pool area and children chasing potentially aggressive cats.
It’s bad for everyone, he believes: the cats and the humans. Most of the neighbors are complaining about the sudden kitty overload. But two of their ranks are kitty feeders and they won’t cease and desist in providing a delicious, round-the-clock smorgasbord so extensive that no cat will even approach the tuna-baited traps he’s set out (on my advice).
What’s a well-meaning landlord to do?
I’ve informed him that as long as there are kitty feeders there will be cats—regardless of his efforts to eradicate the ones he’s got (his plan is trap-neuter-release and relocate).
In that case, I explained, your best bet is to spay and neuter who you’ve got so that no one can deposit potent tomcat urine and so their natural feline territoriality keeps the population stable.
But they’re feral, he complains. If someone gets bitten, am I not liable?
Well…I guess I have to answer that with a solid, “maybe.”
Still, getting cats out and expecting all members of their species to remain gone while tenants are still feeding creatures seems like an exercise in futility. It just won’t work. In a cat-frenzied town like Coconut Grove (in Miami), the “nature abhors a vacuum” theory holds: new ones will always come in to replace the ones removed.
The only avenue to success with this venture (as the landlord envisions) is to stop feeding them altogether. That’s it.
Now comes the tough part: Controlling that pesky human behavior.