Feral Cats in North Beach
Miami Beach has a Feral Cat Problem
One of the things I really enjoy about living in the North Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach is being able to take Bodhi for walks on the beachside boardwalk.
There is one thing about our walks that kinda, sorta freaks me out: some of the landscaped areas and adjacent parks are overrun with feral cats!
There are what appear to be dozens and dozens of cats in the area. People leave food and water out for them.
Now please keep in mind I’ve never lived anywhere where I’ve seen this before, so it’s taking me some getting used to.
Apparently Miami has a “trap and treat” program in place to help control the population; they trap cats and neuter them so they can’t breed in the wild. You can read more about it here from the Miami Herald.
My big concern is that the cats might cause problems for domestic cats and dogs. A concern that is shared by many according to the Safer Pets website in the UK:
Again, feral cats will carry diseases and parasites which can be transmitted to pets and since they share the same anatomy as your house cat, they can be a particular risk in introducing feline diseases, such as feline leukaemia or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Feral cats are particularly prone to these two diseases due to the frequent fluid exchange from constant fighting and mating. In addition, feral cats can be infested with a large numner of fleas, as well as intestinal bacteria and worms. They also often carry ear mites, ring worm and upper respiratory tract infections (e.g. cat flu). Even if they don’t come into direct contact with your pet, they may still transmit disease and parasites through their waste products, particularly if they are using your garden as a toilet!
They can also be a risk to dogs since they are likely to stand their ground and fight, thus inflicting injuries which may become infected or transmit disease. Similarly, they may encounter, fight and harm any domestic pet cats which are allowed to roam, particularly at night.
This link will take you to the Miami Dade County website where you can find info on catching cats and what types of fines can be levied against people who abandon animals on county streets.