Early May this article was released about a string of rabid cats in Providence.
Hoard of Rabid Cats Invade Providence's West End
One of them bit a garbage collector and an Animal Control Officer. Of course about two weeks later, I see a family of cats in our neighborhood, a mom and four kittens, and as a responsible citizen, call Animal Control who says, and I quote, "We don't pick up feral cats." When I asked who would, the woman responded, "No one does that." Her suggestion was to leave them alone and they would go away.
From the Providence Animal Control Website under services they (supposedly) provide:
We regulate uncontrolled domestic animals, investigate bites and attacks by aggressive animals, investigate reports of animal nuisance and cruelty, pick up stray and unlicensed animals, rescue injured animals, keep records of lost/found cats and dogs, license dogs, enforce city ordinances, state statues pertaining to animals, give animal information and referrals, and promote responsible pet ownership through education.
Of course if I reported the cats as being rabid, then they would have to come, but it seems to me that it would be better to collect them before they contract disease and breed rather than after, but the government always knows best. (insert extreme sarcasm here)
After I spoke with the helpful woman at Animal Control, I called the ASPCA and Providence Animal Rescue League, neither of whom could help me. The ASPCA did say I could rent a trap from them for $80 to catch the cats. Not knowing how to use a trap and a little paranoid about wrestling with a wild, mama cat, I declined.
Then, a friend suggested PawsWatch, a local non-profit organization that deals specifically with feral cats, and last night, with her help, we trapped the mom and one of the babies. Sadly, the other three disappeared before we could catch them.
What PawsWatch does is capture them, get them fixed and innoculated and releases them back into the neighborhood, unless of course one of the cats is tame enough to adopt. Here's a picture of the baby.
Now if you have any wild cats roaming the neighborhood, this is what the woman told me:
- If you see a roaming cat, don't assume it's owned
- After they have been fixed, the vet notches their ears
- If you don't have a PawsWatch type organization in your area, you can probably rent a trap from your local ASPCA. (And it was really easy to set.)
- She had me feed them regularly and when she came, we put the trap in the same place. I caught both mama and baby ten minutes after we set the trap
When the kitties are fixed and returned I will still be feeding them but at least I know they'll be healthy and not able to breed a hundred cats.