Gers: advice for mayors facing the scourge of stray cats

the essential
The spread of cats is a serious problem for the mayors of small towns, who are often poorly informed. The mixed association of the 3 valleys, which manages the Pound refuge Ordan-Larroque, wants to help them answer that.

“It’s been two or three years since cats became a problem in rural areas. Is it an awareness among the mayors that makes us raise the issue, the population no longer backing these nuisances, or a sudden increase in the number of Jacques Alfénore, Vice President of the 3 Dale Mixed Trade Unions – SM3V – is also the elected official responsible for the pound and refuge Ordan-Larroque, and together with the President, Etienne Savary, and the Director of the Structure, Philippe Marcadier, he decided to give the mayors , who are members of SM3V, tools to help them see things clearly.A letter is gone, reading it will benefit many of them.

For if it is certain that the mayor has a duty to ensure control of the migration of dogs and cats in his municipality, the methodology is very different from species to species. “Many contacted us because they did not know what to do about the phenomenon,” says Jacques Alfénore. We decided on this message to the mayors to explain to them how the pound works and how to enter it. »

“Croquet pools”

A pair of unsterilized cats are potentially 20,000 offspring over the course of 4 years, if the conditions are right. And the problem is that some rural residents are open to cats, out of love for animals, a love that is often a little mindful of the consequences for the animals themselves, the neighborhood and the law. “Citizens’ behavior towards animals has changed. Sometimes you have bowls of croquettes placed under the barn! This results in clusters and a multiplication of cats that end up migrating into the homes. »

Smell of urine, feces, penetration and damage follow. Also tensions. Because these cats, which do not belong to anyone when a problem arises, sometimes create very strong enmities in the villages, even with the mayor. And the prevalence of cats in almost all cases is due to feeding. “Feeding is prohibited by law,” Jacques Alfénore clarifies. But when you’re mayor, you do not want to send the gendarmes to a lady who feeds cats … “

About 100 euros per stray cat

Some animal friends receive pallets of food bags, offered “by associations like 30 million friends or the Brigitte Bardot Foundation,” trusts Jacques Alfénore.
The municipalities at the other end finance sterilization operations. But there are always those who get through … and everything has to start again! Not to mention that the neutered feral cats must be released on the spot and fed by the town hall. Right, duty: the law is sometimes poorly understood by the mayors themselves. “I know one,” slips Etienne Savary, who paid for sterilizations out of his own pocket because his city council refused to budget for the operation. But in reality, the mayor can impose it, under his obligations and his police power! »

The SPA, which is in charge of the shelter, makes cages available to catch stray cats and funds up to 300 sterilizations a year for SM3V members. “Moving colonies of cats is simply leaving room for another colony,” sighs Etienne Savary. And these wild cats can not be adopted. We must capture them, identify them, sterilize them and release them. A cumbersome procedure. And expensive. Count 100 € per animal. “We had a case about a village where the mayor for a while rejected the problem. When he realized it was getting out of control, there was 60.6000 €, for a small town, it is not nothing.” In Condom was the population of stray cats is estimated at 200 in 2021. “There are legal tools,” insists Etienne Savary. “Too many mayors are in a position of denial.”

Overpopulation, disease development and impact on biodiversity

Feeding stray cats abundantly does not always contribute to animal welfare. Overpopulation causes contamination with species diseases (leukosis, AIDS in cats, parasites), some of which are incurable. These colonies have consequences for the hygiene of local residents, faced with manure or the deposition of parasites in houses. Finally, stray cats, without predators, are formidable threats to biodiversity. In comparison, it is estimated that a well-fed cat kills 27 prey animals a year, against 273 for a stray cat and 1,071 for a wild cat … against a maximum of 18.3 birds per year for a windmill.

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