KAPAA — Basil Scott, of the Kauai Community Cat Project, said trap-neuter-release programs on Kauai have reduced the size of 10 colonies monitored by the organization by half over the past eight years.
That’s in response to comments from Suzanne Case, chairwoman of the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, that statewide TNR programs aren’t effective in reducing numbers in feral cat colonies.
“I think it’s unfortunate that she’d say that, because TNR has proven effective and it’s a community based solution that engages people positively,” Scott said Wednesday.
He said TNR programs “absolutely reduce the number of cats” because it’s a way to combat say and neuter issues in unwanted pets, which is what he says is the real crux of the issue.
“The underlying problem is cat abandonment,” Scott said. “If the problem starts in the community, it has to be solved by the community and TNR is a way to engage the community in a highly positive, grassroots community solution.”
He said it’s important to remember that there are essentially two kinds of feral cats on Kauai: mountain cats and city cats.
“Her (Case’s) comments may be relevant for wildlife areas, but when it comes to city and town areas, there’s a different ecosystem at play,” Scott said. “The problem has to be addressed differently in the city than it does in the wildlife areas.”
It’s understandable, he said, to have to send in trappers to curb a colony in the same area as a nesting bird population, he explained, but different approaches have to be taken for different environments.
He said the other alternative to TNR programs for feral cat colony reduction would be to do intensive trapping and killing, “and then leave the problem.”
“That’s just like binge dieting,” Scott said. “It’ll knock the population back down, but the population will simply go back up over time.”
He said that’s not only because it’s impossible to catch every feral cat on the island, but because other felines will inevitably “leak out from our own backyards and neighborhoods.”