Tonawanda News

Columns

April 11, 2013

KEPPELER: Don't be part of the problem

Tonawanda News — I’m a cat person.

To be fair, there really aren’t many pets I don’t like. I can even deal with snakes, and once had every intention of adopting an iguana after I graduated from college. Ferrets are a hoot, and full of personality. (See page 1C in next Sunday’s Tonawanda News.) Dogs are great. 

But ... yeah, I’m a cat person. Maybe it’s the independence combined with the cuddliness. I don’t know. I’ve known cats from the aloof to the playful to the cozy, and I’ve liked them all. 

With my family, most of the cats have been rescues, from the long-haired tabby kitten that just showed up on my parents’ porch one morning (the likely descendant of farm cats, who grew into a beloved family pet) to my aunt’s lovely calico, born to cats abandoned next a campground in my hometown. 

They, of course, found wonderful homes. But I could never help wondering. What of the kittens who wandered into road instead of onto a cozy porch? How many of those abandoned with Patches weren’t rescued to a warm home, but lived out their lives in the wild, often sick or injured ... or constantly producing more homeless kittens?

On Tuesday, SPCA of Niagara Director Amy Lewis spoke with the North Tonawanda council about options to dealing with a growing feral cat problem in the area. As an animal lover, I read the story in our paper with great interest in the process, from collecting data on where feral cats live in the city to obtaining grant money to spay and neuter the animals.

The conversation was started, in part, by the March discovery of about 50 stray or feral cats — flea-ridden, sometimes ill or antisocial, traumatized and scared — in a Roncroff Drive home. One fact of Lewis’ comments about the situation stunned me.

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