In the past years when we have visited Lakeside, Ohio for a week in June we have noticed an increasing number of cats out and about. These are not cats that you can pet and love on. These cats are feral cats that have come to live in the area and who really do not have homes and owners but just kind of roam around the town.I am a huge cat lover as anyone can tell from looking at my Facebook feed or Instagram account. I love them all. But apparently Lakeside has a bit of a problem with their feral cat population.This year when we visited we did not see nearly as many as we have in previous years so I suspect the population is a bit thinned out from previous years. After doing some hunting around online it is apparent that the feral cat population is a bit of a “thing” there and that it has been for years.
In 2012 according to a reference in the minutes of the Lakeside Property Owner’s Association 40 cats were captured, spayed, neutered, immunized and returned to Lakeside in an effort to control the cat population. They also cited working with a group called Feline Angels on this project.
Apparently in recent years there was also a rash of poisoning of cats. We noticed several posters around town in previous years asking for information regarding the poisoning of cats in Lakeside and several of the Lakeside Property Owner’s Association minutes referenced information concerning the legal ramifications for poisoning animals. So it appears that some people love the cats and some people hate them.
The place where we have stayed while we visit Lakeside is next door to a couple who call Lakeside home for the summers. They are a fastidious couple who love their yard. It is the place where walkers stop to admire their yard decor and flower gardens. Their plants are beautiful and they are very protective of their yard as we have learned over the years. But what they also do is feed the cats. Several times a day the woman can be seen distributing cans of cat food in various spots in her yard and in an area across the street. She calls them by name and gives them food. Everything that I have read both in the Lakeside Association information and online in other areas concerning feral cats says this is a big no-no. While I understand the kind hearted gesture it defeats the whole effort to control the cat population that often explodes in places.
I actually found this reference to the practice of feeding stray cats on the Lakeside website.
Although feeding stray animals may seem nurturing, it actually causes more problems than it solves. Stray cats that receive a continuous supply of food reproduce more often, increasing the feral cat population. The rise in population results in more competition for food and increased disease outbreaks. Furthermore, offspring will be true feral cats that have not been socialized or tamed. Feeding neighborhood strays will also attract other stray animals such as raccoons and rats.
I could not find a date on this article but it appears the problem was really at a peak in 2012. Our visit this year made me think that maybe it might be on the decline as I did not notice nearly as many stray cats roaming around. I do wonder what happens to these cats in the winter when the summer residents are gone and no longer feeding them. It seems cruel to me to feed them in the summer and then abandon them in the harsh Ohio winter months.
Obviously some folks are passionate on both sides of the issue and if it warrants being a topic of discussion at homeowner’s meetings it is a problem. While I love cats I also know that the best way to protect stray cats is to ensure that they are all spayed, neutered, immunized, and released back in their original environment. There are plenty of services and programs available to ensure the safety of stray cats.
Have you ever visited a place that appears to be overrun with cats? What were your feelings about it? Were you concerned or did you just wonder where they all came from? Today is the last day to comment to support our June Comments for a Cause so leave me a comment. Come back tomorrow for the new Comments for a Cause results and new reveal.