Strays / Feral Cats
Free roaming cats present a challenge to the health and safety of county citizens as well as the health and safety of cats. In order to confront this challenge the Board of County Commissioners formed a work group to study the issues and make recommendations on possible solutions. The members of the group were
chosen from non-profit animal shelters, animal welfare groups,
environmental non-profitgroups, the Pinellas County
Environmental Management department, the Pinellas County Health Department, national and local feral cat advocacy groups, and a wildlife officer licensed in Florida who is experienced in urban wildlife. In addition, we included several practicing veterinarians in Pinellas County (one who is a specialist in feline medicine and two who are affiliated with the Pinellas County Veterinary Medical Association). We also included two experts from outside Pinellas County who served as consultants. One was an attorney specializing in land use and environmental law who is skilled in the formation of public policy.
The other was a veterinarian with the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine who initiated a feral cat spay/neuter program at the university. Two assistant Pinellas County attorneys also were assigned to the group to discuss county policies and answer legal questions from members.
A summary of the work group’s findings can be found here .
Animal Services supports these findings and would like to emphasize the following:
- If you own a cat have it spayed or neutered early. Most people are unaware that female kittens can become pregnant as early as 5 months of age. Early spay/neuter is a safe and effective way to prevent unwanted litters.
- Keep your cat indoors (both a good idea and keeps you in compliance with the county code). In general, indoor cats live a longer and healthier life. To help you overcome some of the hurdles of keeping your cat in, see the following links:
Your cat's health and safety will be much better protected if he or she lives indoors. Pinellas County Animal Services joins with many humane organizations and animal rescue groups to urge cat owners to keep your cats indoors. With Coyotes on the prowl all over Pinellas County, it is even more important to keep you cat indoors. Coyotes see cats as part of their food chain and will not hesitate to try and catch your pet cat.
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