Homeless Animals Affect Everyone
Today is International Homeless Animal Day
As bad as the human homeless problem in America is, the homeless animal problem is even larger. There are about half a million homeless people in the United States with the highest number of homeless people in California 161,548 and the lowest in North Dakota 541. But there are an estimated 70 million homeless animals this year in the United States alone, and 600 million worldwide. Let that sink in for a minute. 600 million homeless animals in the world.
According to the Humane Society, 30 to 40 million homeless animals in the US are estimated to be community cats. Community cats can include feral, stray, and lost cats. Stray and feral cats are largely responsible for a decline in bird, and rodent populations in the US, and are credited with being a major contributor to the extinction of 63 species of animals worldwide. While rodent control is needed in many cities and even in more rural areas too many cats mean too good of a job.
Studies show that no more than 7% of cats that end up in a shelter are reclaimed. One of the reasons is that many cats that are brought into shelters are brought in as strays with no ID or chip. Stray and community cats are responsible for approximately 80% of the kittens born in the US according to the National Humane Society. Though female cats can become pregnant by 5 months of age, most feral and community cats lose at least one litter due to a lack of resources and disease either in utero or within the first week of life.
The problem of homeless animals is not going away. It is growing, and as such the number of people and dollars it takes to try to put a dent in the problem is also growing. Right now, only 10-14% of Americans are feeding the community cat population, but their resources are thin, and the need of the colonies keep growing.
What can you do to help solve this problem?
· Adopt don’t Shop
· Support your local shelter, ASPCA, or humane Society
· Make sure your pets are spayed or Neutered
· Help someone else get their pets Spayed or neutered
· Keep your pets inside or in an enclosure.
· Support or volunteer with organizations that work to keep cats with their families, do TNR, and help educate the public about the problem of overpopulation.
Remember, when you spay or neuter your dog or cat, you are not only saving the lives of unwanted and unadopted animals, but you are also preventing certain diseases and unwanted behaviors in your beloved cat or dog.
Stray and feral animals don’t just run the risk of contracting Rabies. They can also be responsible for attacks on livestock and fowl. In 2016 alone dogs killed 15,000 Sheep in the UK. So, if you think that the problem has nothing to do with you, Think again. Everything is connected in some way to the economy. The more homeless animals there are the fewer resources there are for everyone, not to mention the more risk of the spread of more diseases. According to dog bite statistics, 4.5 million Americans are victims every year. 800,000 of the attacked people needed medical care, and 27% of the attacks are children under 9.
Until now I did not mention rabbits in this article, but you would be surprised at how many homeless rabbits there are.
If enough of us do our part to be responsible pet owners, we can bring the number of homeless and unwanted animals down. We can fix this.
Below is a link that suggests what you can do if you find an animal that appears to be lost or stray.
How to help homeless cats | The Humane Society of the United States