Through the efforts of some concerned citizens, I have learned a lot about the stray/feral cat population over the last couple of days. I grew up on a farm and do have experience with stray/feral cats; toms move from farm to farm depending on the abundance of food. As on the farm, I think that stray/feral cats provide a service to the municipality that cannot be overlooked. I have been told there are 40,000-100,000 stray/feral cats in HRM. Wow! The service they are providing is doing what they do: hunting rats.
I fully support a low-cost and effective spay/neuter program for domesticated cats. I do not support a blanket spay/neuter program for feral cats. I think wild populations should be left on their own. Nature has a very clever way, when left alone, to balance itself.
The concern I have with the stray/feral cat population is cats naturally live in non-urban settings. This needs work. I would fully support increasing the budget for animal control and creating several jobs for stray/feral cat specialists. Their job would be to monitor the cat population and to check for injured and sick cats. I would also support the implementation of proper habitats for the feral/stray cat population to exist. These habitats would provide clean drinking water and hiding places for the cats, where the population can be monitored. I believe in living with the natural world, not against it. If we support the stray/feral cat population, they can benefit us in many ways. The key will be to encourage the cats to hunt for themselves, and thus control the rat population.
I have thought about this issue a lot. I am not sure the Stan Plan is the way to go. However I have signed the pledge and if elected mayor I will be watching this program very closely.