With apologies to those who disagreed with my thoughts two weeks ago, I stand by my column on feral cats.
We have a cat, so there is no hatred. I worked for Dr. Donald Nickerson at the Marseilles Veterinary Clinic while going through high school. Almost each week, a supervisor from the Nabisco Plant would bring a box of feral cats to the clinic to be put down.
The reason for this was a few employees had been bitten by one of the cats while attempting to feed it. That cat had to be kept in isolation for 21 days to make sure it didn’t have rabies. One time an employee was bitten, and the cat wasn’t recovered. The employee had to go through a series of rabies shots that his doctor recommended so he wouldn’t be taking any chances. Nabisco had to foot the bill on the shots and the incubation. The shots consisted of 21 shots in the stomach over a long period. After that, the management at this facility wanted to get rid of all of the feral cats.
Feral cats could not be tamed. I have a degree in engineering with a minor in biology. We also used to farm up until I was 9 years old. We had numerous cats that used to climb all over us when it became milking time. Most were tame. They helped control mice and rats on the farm. They were no problem for anyone. In fact, I loved having them around.
When I went to college, the professors tried to get laws passed not to create any habitat that would promote feral cats, as the schools had problems with them, as well.
Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. I would suggest readers who disagree contact a state biologist on this subject. I believe he or she will reinforce my writings. Biologists, as well as myself, do not have anything against cats or any type of wildlife.
By the way, Webster’s II defines feral cats as a wild animal existing in an untamed state. They are also defined as savage.
To many who commented on my column, I implore your work as feral-cat colony control persons. Someone has to do something for a reduction of problem animals. I did do some research on the subject, and my findings were the same as the results I wrote about. They are also backed up by the State of Illinois biologists.
If you want to see a blatant problem with the cats, travel out to La Salle Lake Fish and Wildlife Area. The feral or tame cats are dropped off near the cooling lake by folks who don’t want them anymore. They are either killed by coyotes or learn to survive by living off the dead fish around the lake. Again, some employees try to feed them, which promotes disease and harm to songbirds.
The state may need your help getting rid of them at the lake. The state does not want them there, but they don’t have enough staff to institute a control plan. You may inquire about it.
A related story: Cook County has a beaver problem. They called in trappers to try to eliminate the beavers. When the plan was to trap and use methods that drowned the animals, people didn’t want that. The Department of Natural Resources had accepted this method of removal. I don’t know how this turned out.
• Fred Krause is a Shaw Media correspondent.