Q: Where do homeless cats come from?
A: The cats all originate from a cat owner who did not spay/neuter their pet cat. Also, these past two years, cat owners who can not afford or want to keep their cats are dumping them into the streets. Cats multiply quickly and one unsterilized cat can lead to 5,000 cats in seven generations thus creating a growing homeless cat population. That is why it is critical for cat owners to spay/neuter their cats. Also it is illegal to drop off a cat in another neighborhood, city, park, etc.
Q: Can homeless cats be "relocated"?
A: For the most part it is illegal under Florida law (and punishable up to $5,000 and jail time) to "relocate" a cat. Relocating a cat is just a euphemism for dumping and abandoning. Cats are territorial and if you take an outdoor cat and place it in a different environment, the cat will instinctively run away in search of home. During this "escape" the cats, unfamiliar with the new surroundings, face dangers, injuries and starvation.
Q: Who is responsible for their care?
A: Ultimately it's the community's responsibility, not the city or county, not Animal Services or Humane Society (click here for more information on these services). If someone feeds a stray cat, it is imperative to have that cat spayed/neutered to prevent a cat population from exploding. There are many low cost clinics in South Florida for sterilization that cost about $25.00 vs. $250 at a veterinarian. For a listing, visit http://www.thecatnetwork.org/
Q: What is the best way to care for the stray cats?
A: At the Riverfront community, volunteers follow the philosophy of the Cat Network of South Florida and the Humane Society of the United States. First all adult cats are TNRd (Trapped-Neutered-Returned) and receive rabies shot. Second, when feeding them near a residential or business complex, it's best to portion control the feedings instead of leaving mountains of dry food that could attract ants, flies if it later rains. If there are any kittens, they are immediately captured no earlier than 6 weeks. Then the volunteers have them deflead, dewormed, taken for blood test, vaccinations, sterilization and placed in loving home, OFF THE STREETS.
This process ensures the cats are not roaming too far in search of food and placing them in danger, the cat population is controlled through process called TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return), lessens the noises from mating and fighting, and no foul odor that is associated with urine from an unneutered male.
Q: Can the cats be taken to Animal Services run by the county?
A: If someone chooses to trap the cats, they can be taken to Animal Services. However, even healthy, stray cats ARE PUT TO SLEEP because they are not adoptable (their home is the Riverfront community). Only adoptable cats are kept alive for five days. If no one adopts the cats, they are automatically euthanized. Please visit their website for more information.
Taking the cats to Animal Services is not an option for the majority of Riverfront residents. As animal lovers they do not believe it is necessary to euthanize an animal if the cat is healthy and happy here at the Riverfront. This is their home. THE CATS ARE LIKE BIRDS, an INHERIT PART OF THE COMMUNITY. The cats do not provoke or cause any danger or health risk. If anything, many residents are relieved there are no rats given the amount of trash immediately outside the property.
If a dog owner is concerned their dog may go after the cat, it is the dog owner's responsibility to ensure they can control the dog. The leash law in Florida is imporant for many reasons.
The cats at the Riverfront are not homeless. They are Riverfront Pets. We welcome your donations of food, funding for vet bills to continue caring for these innocent creatures.
CLICK HERE to view a VIDEO about homeless cats.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about your community.