Life on the Streets

Earlier this week, a local man, Cody Edward Daigneault, was convicted after pleading guilty to animal cruelty for shooting his neighbor’s cat with an arrow. Daigneault received a sentence of three years’ probation but will be sent to prison for 18 months if he violates any terms of his probation. Probation terms include that he have no pets for 15 years and possess no weapons. He also must pay $260 in restitution.

Although we could debate whether the sentence was tough enough for the suffering he inflicted on the cat, the case does serve to illustrate one incontrovertible fact: life is dangerous and often painful for free roaming cats. Free roaming cats might be feral, community-cats, strays, or pets that spend their time outside and roaming where they please.

These cats, like the one in this case, are often considered a nuisance by people and dealt with in a variety of often terrible ways. I know of many cats who’ve been poisoned, burned, mutilated, shot, or tortured in ways to horrible to mention. Some people seem to think that if an animal is not owned by someone, it deserves whatever it gets. Whether the people who would inflict suffering on a cat—or any animal—are depraved, mentally ill, or are tired of dealing with “nuisance” cats really doesn’t matter. The result for the cat is unimaginable pain and suffering.

Even people who would not hurt an animal themselves get tired of dealing with a plethora of cats. So several local business people offer the service of trapping and removing “nuisance” wild animals. This often includes cats that no one wants to deal with. The removal business sets traps for animals, including cats, and then returns some time later to collect them and take them away. For homeowners, this is an “out of sight, out of mind” solution. But think about this: the animals caught by such trappers are not being relocated and set free to go about their business. They are being killed.

Even for cats that aren’t harmed by humans, life on their own can be dangerous, painful and short. Feral cats can starve, freeze, suffer with illness and injury, live with parasites, and never know a feeling of safety or comfort.

sad, dirty street cat

Next time, we’ll talk about alternatives to killing free roaming cats.

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