I applaud Texas Tech’s goal of reducing the feral cat population on campus as described in Monday’s issue of The Daily Toreador. Such a goal is a step in the right direction, but more action is needed. A cat colony on campus offers few benefits to the Tech community. Feral cats are documented vectors of toxoplasmosis, hookworm and rabies, among other diseases. The health risks posed by the cats are as real as they are preventable. Further, feral cats are efficient predators and research has shown they feed on wildlife even while being fed by humans. A recent report by The Wildlife Society states cats are responsible for the localized extinction of mammal, bird and reptile species.

I am a cat owner. Cats have been family pets for much of my life. A marked difference between most family pets and the cat colonies of Tech is that the latter imposes real ecological and health risks. Our university has limited feral cat management options and such an emotionally charged issue offers no solution that will be unilaterally supported. The time has come to evaluate solutions rationally, not emotionally. Eliminating the “return” in the current trap, neuter and return policy would be a responsible and beneficial change. Captured cats should be taken to animal shelters and made available for adoption by individuals who value their companionship. Lauren Sanderson of the Feral Cat Student Association suggested contacting Chancellor Kent Hance and President M. Duane Nellis if something should be done. This letter is just that: an appeal to dismiss emotional biases and accept the realization that feral cats have no place on campus.

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Mr. McRoberts, Your opinion would have more meaning if it was based on true facts. The Wildlife Society's information wasn't accurate & has already been proven wrong. Feral cat colonies that have been TNR'd are stable healthy colonies that prevent rodent & snake overpopulation. This has been proven time after time. Remove the cats from the Tech campus & there will soon be more mice , rats, & snakes to disrupt the campus in much more damaging ways. And be much more expensive to deal with ! I am also a cat owner & I see many more similarities between Tech's feral cats & pet cats, both will hunt, can have roundworms ( hookworms are more common in dogs), toxoplasmosis, & rabies ( unless vaccinated). They are both fed by us & taken to the vet as needed - yes that does happen. Taking the cats to the animal shelter will result in their deaths. Feral cats aren't pets & can't be adopted out as such. They are territorial & will try to get back to " their territory" if removed to another location. They will also keep new cats from coming into their territory. I'm sorry you feel emotions have no part of this because it is what makes us compassionate & caring towards others. In this case it's because the cats have been abandoned by the people that were supposed to care for them. By that I mean by students that brought in a kitten & when it got to big or school was out & they couldn't take it home they put it out to fend for itself. Or by someone that had cats & didn't get them fixed - when kittens came along they were dumped at Tech because "someone" will take them in. Lubbock - not just Tech has a feral cat problem & it will take more than trap & kill to get it under control. Education is the answer & I hope that Tech would want to work with the students & others to educate the public about proper animal care.

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