Monday, March 17, 2008

Stray/Feral Cats Do NOT Pose Threat to Humans

In the wake of the raid of Tiger Ranch (a cat sanctuary in Tarentum, Pennsylvania about 20 miles northwest of Pittsburgh), come claims that stray and feral cats are health hazards and are potential risks to the public. Alley Cat Rescue would like to take a moment to stamp out the myths surrounding these animals and educate the public on how to properly manage them.

A feral cat is one who has had no or very limited exposure to human contact and has reverted back to its “wild” state for survival. These animals should not be directly handled; one should never corner or try to pick up a feral cat. Feral cats (most wild animals) are afraid of humans and will run at the sight of one (they are not known to attack people), but extreme caution should be used when in close proximity to them.

There is also the misconception that all stray and feral cats are “disease carriers”, when in truth, most people acquire infectious diseases from other people not from animals. One disease is toxoplasmosis; which is rarely transmitted by animals (from fecal matter) and more commonly acquired by handling raw and undercooked meat. Another virus that makes people fearful of cats is rabies. Cats are not natural vectors of the virus and most rabies cases in the US are from bats, coyotes, and dogs.

The preferred method of controlling feral cat populations is through trap-neuter- return (TNR). Cats are caught by humane traps, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and returned to the site. Kittens/cats that are friendly or can be socialized are placed into an adoption program to find permanent homes. Cats that are TNRed are healthier and are less likely to transmit diseases (to other cats and to humans). Once sterilized, they are less aggressive and fight less. They also receive a three-year rabies vaccine; which in studies has shown to be effective for longer than three years. Vaccinated cats will also provide a buffer zone between wildlife and humans.

Ultimately, there is no need to fear stray and feral cats. They pose no immediate threats to humans and a few isolated incidences of such claims is no reason for panic. However, one should always remember to use caution when in contact with a stray/feral cat (like most wild animals); even if the person has specific animal handling and trapping experience, one should NOT try to pick up the animal.

WARNING: Recall of Hartz Products

With the recent recall of its Vitamin Care for Cats and a previous recall on its Flea and Tick Drops, consumers should be ware when purchasing products produced by the Hartz Mountain Corporation. Numerous reports from cat and dog owners have claimed that such products caused the deaths of their pets. There is even a website devoted to the victims of Hartz, where owners share their personal stories of their experience from using Hartz products.

Hartz is voluntarily recalling a second specific lot of Hartz Vitamin Care for Cats due to concerns that bottles within the lot may have been potentially contaminated with Salmonella. Hartz recalled a specific lot code of Hartz Vitamin Care for Cats last November due to similar concerns. Both lot codes were manufactured for Hartz by UFAC (USA) Inc. in 2007, and were removed from distribution last November. However, bottles from the second lot had been shipped to customers prior to their having been removed from distribution.

The product involved is 739 bottles of Hartz Vitamin Care for Cats, lot code SZ 22771, UPC number 32700-97701. While normal testing conducted by Hartz and UFAC has not revealed the presence of Salmonella in any Hartz products, recent sampling conducted by the FDA did detect the presence of Salmonella.

Previously, in December of 2002, thousands of illnesses and deaths in cats and kittens led to a recall of some of Hartz’ flea and tick products. Hartz Advanced Care Brand Flea and Tick Drops Plus for Cats and Kittens and Hartz Advanced Care Brand Once-a-Month Flea and Tick Drops for Cats and Kittens was pulled from shelves after numerous accounts of pets suffering from adverse effects from the products. Complaints included minor problems such as skin irritation or hair loss at the application site to more serious effects on the nervous system, such as tremors, convulsions and sometimes death.

Despite countless complaints, the Environmental Protection Agency (regulatory body) will not close down the Hartz Mountain Corporation. Therefore, a website has been created to allow pet owners to share their stories of using its products and to educate the public on the risks of using its products. Please visit their website at

Consumers can contact Hartz at 1-800-275-1414 with any questions they may have and to obtain reimbursement for purchased product.

You may also contact them at:

Consumer Relations Department
The Hartz Mountain Corporation
400 Plaza Drive
Secaucus, NJ 07094 USA
1-800-275-1414 consumer hotline

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cats Under Fire

This week is full of bad news for our feline friends! Hundreds of cats in Virginia are being rounded up by a pest control company to rid a trailer park of stray and feral cats. A small town in Iowa has set a $5 bounty to encourage residents to catch and turn in stray/feral cats to “manage” their cat problem, and China is still cleansing its streets to prepare for the Olympics. Want to do something about one or all of these issues? Then, please voice your opinion and disapproval by contacting those listed below. I know it does not seem like much, to write a letter, but if several hundred or thousand people each write a letter, it can make a difference!

Chantilly, Virginia

Monday night, residents of the Meadows of Chantilly mobile home park received a noticed, announcing the decision to hire a pest control company to trap and kill the more than two hundred cats living in their community. Most residents disagree with this decision and welcome the cats. A cat rescue organization has been performing TNR and most cats have been sterilized. The management’s decision came as a shock, considering they previously made a public promise to work with all parties involved to decide the fate of the cats.

ACR is urging our members to write to the Management team at Equity Lifestyle Properties and insist they continue with the TNR program. The community is willing to work with rescue groups to sterilize the cats and provide food/water and homemade shelters. There is no reason to trap and kill.

Ms. Taunya Bailey
Regional Manager
Equity Lifestyle Properties
205 Joan Dr.
Bear, DE 19701

Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc.
Two North Riverside Plaza
Chicago, Illinois 60606
Phone: 312-279-1400
Fax: 312-279-1710
Randolph, Iowa

Mayor Vance Trively is encouraging his residents to catch stray cats by offering a $5 bounty for every cat that is turned in. Any cat who cannot easily be identified as an owned cat will be caught and killed. Not only is this action inhumane for the cats, but it also puts people at risk. Feral cats are not to be handled, and those with no experience working with them could end up with severe injuries (not to mention children trying to catch the cats). Plus, some residents worry for their pets’ welfare, saying anyone could remove a cat’s collar and say it is a stray.

Please contact the mayor and express that his “town round-up” is an ineffective way to control the cat population and it puts people and the cats in danger. The more effective, less costly, and humane method of cat control is TNR.

Mayor Vance Trively
PO Box 88
107 S Main
Randolph, IA 51649-0013
Beijing, China

Cats are still being round up en mass to cleanse the city before the start of the Olympics. This recent government campaign is telling citizens that cats are disease carries, causing a country-wide panic. According to an England newspaper, “cat owners, terrified by the disease warning, are dumping their pets in the streets to be picked up by special collection teams.” Another report states that “paranoia is so intense that six stray cats -including two pregnant females - were beaten to death with sticks by teachers at a Beijing kindergarten, who feared they might pass illnesses to the children.”

ACR is urging our members to continue to contact the Olympics organizations and voice your disgust with the inhumane treatment of animals in order to prepare for The Games.

Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG)
267 Bei Si Huan Zhong Lu
Haidian District
Beijing 100083, China

Tel: (86.10) 66 69 91 85
Fax: (86.10) 66 69 92 29

Beijing Olympics,,,

Olympics General,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,