Feral Cat Issue Prompts Concern from Royal Oak Resident

Resident advocates for trap-neuter-release program in Royal Oak.

Credit: Patch File Photo
Credit: Patch File Photo

A group of residents asked the Royal Oak City Commission to consider a "feral cat ordinance" during public comment at Monday's city commission meeting. 

Julie Szczepanski, a Royal Oak resident, attended the meeting. Szczepanski is active volunteer with animal rescue group Pet Adoption Alternative of Warren (PAWW). 

Szczepanski wrote this letter to Royal Oak Patch:

It has come to my attention that the City of Royal Oak has been ticketing residents for feeding and sheltering feral cats. 

This is an outrage to me and the animal rescue folks I work with (Pet Adoption Alternative of Warren). Our volunteers have been working for the past several years to trap, neuter and release feral cats in the Royal Oak area.

Kind residents have provided food and shelter for some of these cats, which is the humane thing to do. This cat population is not getting larger. Our diligent work has helped decrease the growth. Studies have shown that 82 percent of the population feel letting cats live out their lives outside is the right thing to do. Almost 100 percent of feral cats brought to animal shelters are euthanized and starving the cats or letting them freeze in the winter is also not the answer.

Many of the feral cats you see in the Royal Oak area should have one of their ear tips clipped off, which All About Animals Rescue does when they neuter feral cats. This helps our organization know which cats need to be neutered and which still need to be neutered.

You can also help our cause by helping trap, neuter, release in your own backyard. Information on how to help can be found on the website www.alleycat.org .

Learn how to build a cat shelter or donate to help other cats get neutered by donating to www.allaboutanimalsrescue.org or donate to help with veterinary services for kittens that are young enough to be socialized and find adoptive homes by going to Pet Adoption Alternative of Warren website at www.paawarren.org  Another helpful strategy would be to attend the Royal Oak City Council Meetings and advocate to prevent further ticketing.

Also, we have been teaching the TNR class at All About Animals Rescue (AAAR) the second Sunday of every month. People can come learn more about it and then they are officially certified to do it themselves.

There is a grant for Oakland county through "Oakcats" that makes the spay and neuter free to Oakland county residents for a limited time. This is a great thing for people with multiple cats! It may motivate them to get up and do something faster. Oakcats asks residents to continue to manage their colonies (big or small) once they've been neutered. It is vital to the TNR process and includes providing food and shelter. This actual keeps the cats healthy (less disease) and keeps them from going into garbage or hunting backyard birds etc. It makes for a more peaceful neighborhood all together. 

Another very important fact is the cats keep the mice and rats away by their scent. Nobody wants a rat problem!

Julie Szczepanski

Judy Gates July 13, 2013 at 09:36 AM
Here is an opportunity to take that TNR class at AAAR this Sunday, July 14.... http://www.allaboutanimalsrescue.org/ai1ec_event/tnr-trap-neuter-return-training-12/?instance_id=3906
Karen Frazer July 14, 2013 at 08:06 AM
TNR works! My group did a group of 11 cats in Troy 4 months ago, gal has been feeding for about 2 years, since that time the "rat" population is NO LONGER! The "feral" cats took care of the problem of the rats. As far as cats using flower beds there are herbs that will deter them.
Judy Gates July 29, 2013 at 11:24 AM
Nate McAlpine July 29, 2013 at 01:48 PM
Have there been any updates on this ordinance since this blog was published?
SHERRI August 27, 2013 at 08:12 PM
The bottom line is education. TNR works, I'm a feral cat colony caregiver, and out of the 13 cats I have TNR'd only 6 remain. Nature has taken it course, whether they have been hit by a car, or died from other causes. I can tell you the 6 that remain are the healthiest, nicest looking cats around. I smile when I see the tipped ear because that is the universal sign to everyone that cat has been "fixed" given a rabies shot and is cared for by someone. No one has to worry about that cat contributing to the "feral population" There is no runny eyes, noses or starving cats -all are beautiful and healthy-and as far as some of the comments about cats pooping in landscaping and yards? I see more dog poop on front lawns and landscaping from dog walkers that don't pick up after their dogs than I ever see from feral cats. Not to mention raccoons and skunks make quite a mess themselves and can be nasty and rabid.


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