What You Need to Know About Pierce County’s Community Cats
April 11, 2018
REALTOR® Monica Wylie is our resident expert on animal welfare in our community, and with spring in full swing, Monica wanted to take a moment to share some important information on the cats that live alongside us!
Holy cats! April showers bring May flowers… and springtime also brings Kitten Season! Yes, in many areas, kittens are seasonal. What does this mean in the grand scheme of things, and how might it involve you? I am so glad you asked!
While many cats that are kept indoors are spayed or neutered, the free-roaming outdoor cats have their own reproductive agenda and are more likely to be unaltered. And they are very good about sticking to their agenda. These cats are better known as “community cats,” acknowledging their niche in our community.
How Many “Community Cats” Are in Pierce County?
There are approximately 60,000+ such cats in Pierce County according to a recent calculation performed by UC Davis Koret School of Shelter Medicine. And when springtime rolls around, love is in the air. Each unaltered female cat can have several litters of kittens per year. To get a better idea of cat mathematics, let’s look at some real numbers: If the average female cat has two to three litters per year, with one to eight kittens in each litter, this can equate to more than 100 kittens during her reproductive lifetime. Multiply this 100 by generations, and soon we reach the thousands!
What Impact Do Community Cats Have on Our Neighborhoods?
Besides thousands of kittens contributing to a pet overpopulation crisis, there are a multitude of scenarios that have the potential to divide a community when community cats are the elephant in the room. You may be familiar with some of the nuisance behaviors associated with such cats, particularly unaltered cats: marking or spraying, fighting, yowling, destruction of property, and the number one nuisance behavior of eliminating in a garden or flower bed.
Fortunately, as a community, we can mitigate such damages via a holistic approach. First and foremost, a trap-neuter-return (TNR) program can work wonders and is the number one methodology to keep community cat populations in check.
For resources regarding community cats and TNR, please visit the links below:
What else can be done to minimize the nuisance behaviors that can be potentially demonstrated by community cats and strengthen relationships in the community? While cats are a welcome sight for many, there are some individuals who do not necessarily share the same sentiment. This can be a great opportunity to institute the use of cat deterrents. Here are a few examples of problems and potential solutions:
Problem: Cats digging/eliminating in flower beds or gardens. Reason: Cats prefer to dig in loose soil or mulch. Possible solution: Scatter coffee grounds, citrus peels, vinegar, pipe tobacco, or even a pine-scented cleaner. Cats typically don’t like the smell from these items.
Problem: Cats walking on vehicles. Reason: Cats do like to perch above ground level and sometimes the warmth of a vehicle makes it an even more attractive perch in their territory. Possible solution: Deploy a ScareCrow™ or other motion-activated device to discourage such perching.
There are many other attractive nuisances that will draw cats to a house—the outdoor feeding of pets, birdfeeders, and dry shelter opportunities beckon community cats to come hither. Alley Cat Allies provides even more solutions to minimize nuisance cat behavior—click here for ideas!
Community cats are just that: “community” cats. They are a direct result of the people in communities. And together, we can create and maintain harmony in our slice of heaven.