How can we help stray animals
Wild animalsStray Cats Not feed
We should not feed free-range cats, even if the animal looks hungry. Alexandra-Christina Rank explains for Deutschlandfunk Nova how we can best help the animals.
Fortunately, the laws here are not as strict as in the state of Ohio in the USA. In "Garfield Heights" of all places, a 79-year-old woman is supposed to be jailed for ten days for repeatedly feeding stray cats.
Here with us, however, in many municipalities it is also expressly forbidden to feed free-range cats. Anyone who does this from time to time should therefore rather check whether it is allowed at all, because in case of doubt, a fine is due, says Deutschlandfunk-Nova reporter Alexandra-Christina Rank.
Two million wild animals in Germany
According to the German Animal Welfare Association, there are an estimated two million wild animals in Germany. Most of us are unlikely to be aware of this because we never see the cats. Veterinarian Moira Gerlach says, however, that it is because stray cats are very shy.
"Free-range cats hide most of the time from people because they are not used to contact with people at all."
Most of the time, street cats are out and about in places where we tend not to be, i.e. on old company premises, on abandoned homesteads or in old cemeteries, says Moira Gerlach.
Free-range cats are often sick
But if we do come across a street cat, the chances are that we will recognize them, because they look pretty wild. Their fur is usually shaggy and they are often sick, says the vet.
"Free-roaming cats are very often malnourished, have diseases such as cat flu and sticky eyes. Or parasite infestation, worm infestation, skin fungus."
We can tell that the cats we meet on the street have an owner either by a collar or by tattoos in their ears, says Alexandra-Christina Rank.
We shouldn't feed stray cats
The Animal Welfare Association expressly advises against the idea of feeding hungry strays. Even if we feel sorry for the animals and we want to do them something good. According to Alexandra-Christina Rank, the problem is that we cannot help the animal in the long term.
"Although the animal is fed up for the moment, it is basically still doing badly."
We could only help the animals by calling the public order office or the local animal welfare association and telling them about the cat. They are familiar with the shy animals, can catch them, examine them, register them - and above all castrate them.
This is very important, says Alexandra-Christina Rank, because this is the only way to contain the problem with stray cats in the long term. The Nabu also advocates neutering wildcats to prevent them from multiplying even more. Because the approximately two million free-roaming cats kill around 30 to 100 million birds every year, according to estimates by the nature conservation association.
Domestic cats must be neutered
Cat owners who have outdoor cats should also quickly spay and neuter their pets to prevent them from mating with street cats.
"The fact that outdoor cats have to be neutered is compulsory in more than 760 municipalities in Germany."
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