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Roseville woman leads trap, neuter, release initiative

September 28, 2012

ROSEVILLE — A Roseville woman is trying to trap all the stray cats in the city, and then release them in the same location where they were trapped.

She goes street by street, from one neighborhood to the next, searching for signs of cats.

Sometimes the signs are subtle, but most of the time they’re pretty obvious, especially once she starts going door to door to inform the residents of what she plans to do.

Melanie Wittner supports stray cats in the suburbs.

“Feral cat colonies are there for a reason — usually a large rodent population,” Wittner says. “They stop diseases that rats spread. They kill the rats. They are actually rather useful. Rats can give dogs bacterial infections, fleas, and they pass on other diseases that can kill dogs and make humans sick.”

Wittner isn’t the only one out there fighting for the rights of alley cats. There is a whole network of people who, like her, are organizing efforts in communities across the country to help protect urban feline wildlife.

“We are doing trap, neuter, release and putting them back outside,” Wittner said. “We aren’t euthanizing them, which if animal control were called in, they would. We are trapping them, getting them spayed or neutered, giving them their vaccines and taking them back to where we trapped them to release them.”

Trap, neuter, release programs are growing in popularity among local municipalities. Becky Robinson, the president of Alley Cat Allies and a lobbyist for support of TNR programs in local government, says there is one fact that’s hard to ignore — these cats are saving cities a lot of money.

“These cats aren’t socialized with humans, so if caught and taken to a shelter, virtually all of them, 100 percent of them, are killed, because they can’t be adopted out,” Robinson said. “It’s actually rather costly to euthanize them; the cost savings are clear.”

Robinson added that because cat colonies tend to indicate large rodent populations, cities also save on rodent and pest-control programs.

The nonprofit she heads not only lobbies local government, but also provides a complete network of TNR groups and charities across the country.

“It has really grown, virtually anywhere you live, in any city and any state, we can locate a TNR program near you,” she said. “There are hundreds of programs all over the country where you can rent or buy a trap.”

All About Animals in Warren is one of the local programs that recommends. A representative from their office couldn’t be reached for comment, but a receptionist was able to confirm that they offer trap rental and low-cost spay and neuter procedures.

The TNR program at All About Animals is $25 and includes trap rental, sterilization, ear tipping — to help animal control quickly identify sterilized cats and rabies vaccines. They recommend a $10 class for first-timers that includes take home materials to reference later.

Wittner is familiar with All About Animals. She participates in the TNR programs they offer — renting multiple traps at a time.

“We’ve trapped over 33 cats in one colony off Groveland and 12 Mile,” Wittner said. “They’re everywhere. The sad thing is, people tend not to understand these cat colonies. People are scared of them.”

According to Robinson, that fear comes from a variety of misconceptions, such as the belief that feral cats are aggressive toward  humans and each other.

“Tomcats fight over girl cats in heat when they are trying to mate — it’s what they do as part of mating — but it’s not regular behavior for them,” Robinson said.

“Feral cats are unsocialized with people, but not with each other,” she continued. “When we take them to have them spayed or neutered, when we return them to their colony, the other cats all come out to greet them, and they groom each other and lick each other.”

Wittner, who heads A Hopeful Heart Animal Rescue in Roseville, is used to being an advocate for animals. For her, bringing the TNR program to neighborhoods throughout the city is just one more way she can advocate for them.

She’s currently working in the neighborhoods west of Gratiot and south of 12 Mile Road. She’s hoping residents in other areas of the city will get involved in their own neighborhoods.

For information on local TNR programs, visit For information on All About Animals’ TNR program or low-cost spay and neuter program, visit To contact Wittner at A Hopeful Heart, call (586) 260-0650.

For more local news coverage, see the following newspaper:

I am so thankful that Melanie cares enough about our community to give her time like this. This is a great program and certainly is making a difference. I have noticed a decline in the rat population and the ones i have seen are dead, I'm sure thanks to the cat population. I see a lot of cats and would rather have cats than rats & mice. As an animal lover I would like to thank Melanie and her volunteers for their time and dedication to her thankful neighbors. We should support anyone who is willing to take the initiative instead of sitting at home complaining about an issue. I hope the program & Melanie are being recognized by the city of Roseville.


FACT: Trap & Kill failed because cats cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control.

FACT: Trap & Sterilize (TNR) is an even bigger abject failure because these man-made ecological disasters cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control, and they also continue the cruelly annihilate all native wildlife (from the smallest of prey up to the top predators that are starved to death), and the cats continue to spread many deadly diseases that they carry today -- FOR WHICH THERE ARE NO VACCINES AGAINST THEM. Many of which are even listed as bioterrorism agents. (Such as Tularemia and The Plague -- Yes, people have already died from cat-transmitted plague in the USA. No fleas nor rats even required. The cats themselves carry and transmit the plague all on their own.)

FACT: THERE IS ABSOLUTELY _NOTHING_ HUMANE ABOUT TNR. Nearly every last TNR'ed cat dies an inhumane death by road-kill, from cat and animal attacks, environmental poisons, starvation, dehydration, freezing to death, infections, parasites, etc. And if very very lucky humanely shot to death or re-trapped and drowned (the two most common methods employed on all farms and ranches to protect their gestating livestock's offspring and valuable native wildlife dying from cats' Toxoplasmosis parasites). This doesn't begin to count the thousands of defenseless native animals that cats skin alive and disembowel alive for their daily and hourly play-toys. The only difference in destroying cats immediately and humanely instead of trapping, sterilizing, then releasing them to an inhumane death; is that money isn't going into an HSUS or SPCA board-member's pocket, veterinarian's pocket, cat-food company CEO's pocket, or a drug-company CEO's pocket. And that's the ONLY difference!

FACT: Cats are a man-made (through selective breeding) invasive species. And as such, are no less of a man-made environmental disaster than any other caused by man. Cats are even worse than an oil-spill of continent-sized proportions. They not only kill off rare and endangered marine-mammals along all coastlines from run-off carrying cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasites, they destroy the complete food-chain in every ecosystem where cats are found. From smallest of prey gutted and skinned alive for cats' tortured play-toys, up to the top predators that are starved to death from cats destroying their ONLY food sources. (Precisely what cats caused on my own land not long ago.)

FACT: Hunted To Extinction (or in this case, extirpation of all outdoor cats) is the ONLY method that is faster than a species like cats can exponentially out-breed and out-adapt to. Especially a man-made invasive species like these cats that can breed 2-4X's faster than any naturally occurring cat-species.

FACT: In _TWELVE_YEARS_ Alley Cat ALL-LIES of NYC have only reduced feral cats in their own city by 0.08% to 0.024% (as the months go on that percentage becomes more insignificant), allowing more than 99.92% to 99.976% to exponentially breed out of control. Here's how Alley-Cat-ALL-LIES' deceptive math works: If you TNR 4 cats and 3 get flattened by cars this translates to 75% fewer feral-cats everywhere. Alley Cat ALL-LIES can't even reduce cats in their own city, yet they promote it as a worldwide solution. Then even bigger fools fall for it and promote it.

FACT: When researching over 100 of the most "successful" TNR programs worldwide, JUST ONE trapped more than 0.4%. Oregon's 50,000 TNR'ed cats (the highest rate I found) is 4.9% of all ferals in their state. Yet, by applying population growth calculus on the unsterilized 95.1% they will have trapped only 0.35% of all cats in their state sometime this year. <0.4% is a far cry from the required 80%-90% to be the least bit effective.

FACT: Their mythical "vacuum effect" is a 100% LIE. A study done by the Texas A&M University proved that any perceived "vacuum" is just the simple case that CATS ATTRACT CATS. Get rid of them all and there's no cats there to attract more. I proved this myself by shooting and burying hundreds of them on my own land. ZERO cats replaced them FOR OVER 2 YEARS NOW. If you want more cats, keep even one of them around, more will find you. That university study also found that sterilized cats very poorly defend any territory. Non-sterilized cats, being more aggressive, take over the sterilized cats' resources (shelter & food if any). If there is any kind of "vacuum effect" at all, it is that sterilizing cats cause non-sterilized cats to restore the reproductive void.

FACT: During all this investigation I have discovered something that is unfaltering without fail. Something that you can bet your very life on and win every last time. That being -- IF A TNR CAT-HOARDER IS TALKING THEN THEY ARE LYING. 100% guaranteed!

I would like to know what you have done to make a difference. Your avid Google research is impressive, unfortunately you must learn that you cannot believe everything you are copy & pasting. Time may better uses getting off your computer & actually doing something for the community. I'm not sure that attacking a valuable citizen is of any help. You should be thankful & more concerned about the crime that's increasing in Roseville. Maybe the drug dealers should be addressed... and please, Google a solution & do something.

P.S. I'm not a cat hoarder either, just an animal lover who has rescued & spayed two dogs who are licensed with the city.

So let me get this straight, you just want them hunted down and killed? Who is the animal here... It is never perfect when you trap cats but isn't it better to try trapping, educate when you trap, inform people of their options instead of leaving them where to take them. You should really educate yourself on this issue instead of putting facts out there that are untrue. Blaming cats for the decline of bird species—without any scientific basis and despite overwhelming evidence that humans are responsible for environmental degradation. Out door cats the are unspayed do not breed faster, in fact they breed less due to lack of food their bodies shut down as a way to conserve body fat. You are correct in one thing cats do attract cats WHEN THEY ARE NOT SPAYED OR NEUTERED!!! Oh and as for being a cat hoarder, in all the years of trapping, I myself do not own a cat, I have three dogs. But I believe in the right for animals that had the misfortune of being abandoned or neglected by a human that decided that a cat was a good choice at the time does deserve a chance to live. How many "indoor" cats have escaped their safe home and have been hit by cars? I am sorry did they scream out as they were dying on the road side "I was a feral cat!!!". You don't know so instead of criticizing please feel free to come along and help trap in a neighborhood and get educated instead of reading so called "facts" that someone else put out there.

While it is true that overpopulation of humans is the #1 problem that we and all other species face today; this doesn't excuse all the responsible, wise, and intelligent people from cleaning-up and stopping all the ecological disasters caused by those phenomenally stupid and criminally negligent people that should have never been born in the first place.

Cats are a man-made (through selective breeding) invasive species. And as such, cats being a product of man's intervention, are no less of a man-made environmental disaster than any oil-spill, radiation-fallout, chemical-spill, or other environmental disaster _caused_by_man_. Cats are _not_exempt_ from having to be removed from every natural environment, wherever and whenever they are found away from supervised confinement. Just as you would do all you can to remove Zebra Mussels from any waterway where they don't belong. Or Burmese Pythons and African Cichlids from every habitat where they exist in N. America today. Burmese Pythons and African Cichlids started out as pets too. Many of our destructive invasive species pests started out as PETS discarded by criminally-irresponsible humans. (Or from pets' habitats, e.g. Eurasian Watermilfoil that is annihilating native aquatic life in many regions of the USA came from people irresponsibly dumping their pet-fish aquarium water into lakes and streams.) And guess what happens to all those other non-native pets that became destructive invasive species? They are destroyed on-site by any means possible -- no questions asked -- none required.

Cats are even worse than an oil-spill of multi-continent-sized proportions. They not only kill off rare and endangered marine-mammals along all coastlines (just as all oil-spills do) from run-off from the land carrying cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasites, they also destroy the complete food-chain in every ecosystem where cats are found today. From smallest of prey that is gutted and skinned alive for cats' tortured play-toys (not even used for food, just for senseless play), up to the top predators that are starved to death from cats destroying their ONLY food sources. (Precisely what cats caused on my own land not long ago.) They don't destroy just birds. They destroy everything that moves -- directly or indirectly. They will even destroy valuable native vegetation by destroying those animals that are required pollinators for those plants or those that act as seed dispersers for those plants (as many smaller rodent and bird species do) or those that act as pest-control for those plants. Cats can and will wipe out whole ecosystems eventually -- animal and plant.

Cats need to be made to disappear from all non-native habitats -- PERMANENTLY. And the sooner the better. They are breeding out of control at an exponential rate. The reason for "the sooner the better" is that you can only hope you can halt the problem before it is beyond the reach of any method you eventually choose. Luckily, I caught the problem in time where I live. It seems nobody else is faring as well -- their time is being wasted by cat-lovers trying to stop them from doing the right thing. Asking or listening to any deranged invasive species advocate for advice on how to clean up the ecological disaster that they created and perpetuate is about as useful as asking your local career thieves for advice on where to hide your valuables from their daily activities. Ignore anything they might say and you too will solve the problem where you live.


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