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Buzz Petition

The Bahamas may have Pig Beach, but in Japan, there are eleven entire islands ruled by cats! Sounds like a kitty paradise, right? Well, not exactly, because as it stands, resident islanders don’t properly care for these felines, preferring instead to let nature run its course, and that is affecting both the cats’ well-being and the state of the local environment.

These free-roaming cats were originally introduced to the islands by sailors and island residents who wanted to control problem rodent populations to protect their silkworm farms from mice. But in the years that followed, these feral cats took over, to the point that they now outnumber the human population six-to-one, and since then it has become a bit of a free-for-all for these whiskered cuties, who continue to go at it like rabbits.

Cats can produce up to two litters a year with an average of four to six kittens per litter, and as their numbers continue to increase and their feral colonies subsequently grow, there are more and more conflicts over territory, resulting in brutal fights between males. And while the locals believe that feeding the cats brings wealth and good fortune, they generally don’t do a thing to assist those who become injured.

Newborn kittens aren’t well cared for, either, and so many succumb to upper respiratory infections that similarly go untreated.

In addition, because no one has taken the time to vaccinate these cats, diseases like Feline Immunodeficiency VirusFeline Infectious Peritonitis, rabies, and common parasites run rampant in these colonies. These illnesses, and especially the internal parasites they carry, are passed along through the feces of an infected animal.

Native wildlife becomes equally threatened when the infected cats’ mounting fecal matter contaminates local food and water sources. However, the greatest danger to the islands’ birds and other area wildlife is primarily the cats themselves, who are, of course, natural born hunters. As such, they’ve become a bit of an invasive species.

As posited by a petition on Care2, the solution to most of these issues lies in a responsible TNR program, which stands for “Trap, Neuter, Release.” This involves humanely trapping the area’s feral cats, spaying or neutering them, then vaccinating them against rabies and other diseases before returning them to the same sites where they were originally captured (i.e., near their colonies and homes).

This type of program would have myriad benefits for Japan’s cat islands. Feline populations would become more manageable, and as a result, they would impose much less upon the local environment and area wildlife. In addition, the cats’ lives would be improved as fewer diseases would be spread and the fighting associated with mating behavior and territorial claim would subside. The cats would generally encounter fewer environmental threats, as well, because they’d become less prone to roaming large distances, crossing roads and coming into contact with motorized vehicles. In addition, island life would become more peaceful for its human residents as the lack of mating would prompt fewer cat fights, fewer cats crying out in heat, and less spraying.

Sounds like a win-win-win, wouldn’t you say? That’s why we’re encouraging everyone to sign this petition on Care2 urging the Japanese government to mandate responsible and humane TNR programs on all cat islands.
Buzz Petition


Image soure: GuareSak/Shutterstock 

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0 comments on “Help the Cats of Japan’s Cat Islands by Advocating for Responsible TNR Programs!”

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john pasqua
1 Years Ago


Marian Brown
1 Years Ago

Feral cats should be euthanized, not released to kill small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, while spreading Toxoplasma gondii and a long list of other parasites.

I highly recommend a science review authored by a biologist, Dr Peter P Marra, called Cat Wars. He carefully reviews the science of species declines and the dismal role cats are playing both directly and indirectly. Again, the solution is simple, use litter boxes and enclose the cats. Feral cats can be removed and euthanized, or fuzzy feral cat lovers can enclose the ones they want to feed. Euthanasia is more cost effective and environmentally responsible, but fuzzy feral cat lovers could use catios and prevent a lot of problems.

I highly respect the veterinarian Ed Clark\'s research and thought his article was excellent, where he makes a very strong case for preventing further carnage by cats here http://www.roanoke.com/opinion/commentary/clark-cats-are-natural-born-killers/article_566de544-a938-5d9c-9783-14cbdd881837.html

As to the public health issues, releasing feral cats to the environment degrades our first world health standards. The gut of the cat is where the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii completes sexual reproduction in its very complex life cycle. The oocytes (parasite eggs) are shed in the cats feces, millions per cat, over a 3 week period.

The Toxoplasma gondii oocytes on contact with air sporulate after 24 hours and become infective to warm blooded animals, such as humans, pigs, most livestock, birds, and even marine mammals. In soil and water, the parasite oocytes can remain viably infective for 18 months or longer. It is a life long parasite, which becomes encysted in the central nervous system. Toxoplasmosis can cause abortus in livestock and first trimester miscarriages in humans. In addition to fetal hydrocephalus, blindness, and deafness, the pathology can manifest later in life too. Ocular toxoplasmosis (the Toxoplasma gondii parasite actively reproducing in the eye) can cause blindness in both the congenital as well as the acquired (later in life) forms. In a Canadian water borne epidemic of toxoplasmosis, 21% developed ocular toxoplasmosis. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2044905-overview?pa=9dOD3oN9OrBmLs49YDT%2Bl60d%2FSpShnyzu44avxr6us603C35BLJc%2Fo47g9FW3uAPJyGvMX%2Fu%2BWdIXoARf%2FT0zw%3D%3D

In a two year study in USA, the cat parasite was the cause of over 200,000 ophthalmologist clinic visits. Toxoplasma gondii oocytes are micrscopic. You don\'t just see them by looking. Routes of infection include contamination of fresh foods, raw meat, meat preparation, water, and even contaminated dust inhalation.

Again, feral cat should be euthanized at a cost of less than $5 per cat, because it is safer and cheaper than neuter release ($75) and prevents both disease spread as well as further wildlife predation.

As to catios, here are some links http://catioshowcase.com/ and also just google catio or search YouTube for videos.

Silver wing
12 Apr 2017

Perhaps euthanize humans too, they are a threat to all other species, they pollute and destroy the environment and their number is constantly growing becoming not sustainable in the very near future.

12 Apr 2017

I\'m with Silver wing if we are going to euthanize anyone because of their destructive nature humans should be the first on the list. Start with all the humans that promote killing animals like Marian Brown!

Alexa Skies
13 Apr 2017

Neutering cats doesn\'t prevent predation or the spread of disease. Even well fed cats hunt and kill, so to prevent destruction of vulnerable local small mammals, birds, reptiles, the feral cats have to be removed and either enclosed or euthanized. People opposed to euthanasia of feral cats should step up and start building catios to contain the ones they want to keep. Euthanasia in the hands of a licensed technician is humane and saves the lives of dwindling local species which are predated by feral cats. Of course all pet cats should be neutered prior to the first litter.

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