Originally Posted by mlp
Just spent $200 last week, getting a male cat neutered. You're fortunate if you have access to a low cost program - that's not the case everywhere. My sister and I have spent many sleepless nights checking traps - in many areas, it's simply not safe to leave a cat (or other animal that happens to go in the trap) in the trap until morning. We end up trapping a lot more oppossums and raccoons than cats.
Even if you see it as a positive that mice and rats are killed, feral cats kill and eat a lot of birds also.
I live in the country, with a lot of small prey available to cats, and yet most of the ferals I encounter are on the verge of starvation. They have little resistance to disease because of it.
May I ask why your parents only neutered the males? Neutering the males is beneficial because it cuts down on fighting and disease transmission, but the only way to control the population is to spay the femalse. One passing tom could easily impregnate all the females in the colony.
I understand there aren't low-cost clinics everywhere, but they're fairly common in my area.
We have quite a few feral cats around here, and as a result, we haven't had a problem with mice and rats in a while. There's no shortage of birds, though. Most of the ferals I find are not on the verge of starvation- in fact, we just spotted a hunting tom in our backyard a week or so ago. A little unkept looking, yes, but not starving by any means.
I don't support abandoning cats, obviously. My house cats wouldn't make it in the wild. But if there are a few ferals around to help keep the rodent population down in an urban area with few other predators, I'm good with that.
They did spay females, but rarely, because it tends to be more expensive. Neutering the males cuts down a population, regardless of the chance of a roving tom- the cat colony living in our old neighborhood was drastically downsized thanks to neutering the males. It's better to do something than nothing at all, and when altering males is half the price of altering females, that's a chance you have to take.