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Feral Cat Bite Incidents Down This Year

(Courtesy of Animal Defense League of Arizona/Trap Neuter Return Program Newsletter)

Animal Control officers are seeing fewer cat bites this year. Last year, 15,000 cats were trapped, neutered and released. This year, less than half that number has been caught.  Stephanie Nichols-Young is with the Animal Defense League, which partners with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. She credits the Trap Neuter Return campaign for the drop in cat incidents. 

“Cats are trapped in humane box traps," Nichols-Young said. "They are simply trapped and they’re taken to a clinic to be sterilized. We ear-tip them so that it’ll be easier to see that they are fixed and they won’t be bothered in the future and then they live out their lives were they’d been living before.”

Last year, MCACC recorded 681 cat bites. With one month left this in this fiscal year it has only recorded 590 feline bites, said Public Information Officer Melissa Gable.

“I don’t know if it’s because there are fewer animals, if people are being a little more responsible and they’re not being bitten," Gable said. " Or does it mean that fewer people are actually reporting, because we are relying on the public to report these incidents.”

MCACC recommends a bite be reported anytime the animal breaks through the skin.

“It needs to be reported because rabies can be transferred through saliva,” Gable said.

Although dog bites can cause more physical damage, Gable wants people to know how dangerous cat bites can be.

“Cat bites are really bad," Gable said. "It’s always worse to be bitten by a cat than by a dog. It gets infected really easily. At the first sign of a red streak going up your arm, you have to get to the E.R."

MCACC’s Help End Homelessness Campaign just ended the first of three years in trying to get animals adopted and help the free-roaming feral cats. They work with other programs throughout the county, including The Humane Society and The Animal Defense League.

Nichols-Young of the Animal Defense League said feral cats don’t have to be a problem.

 “It’s a problem because people are not always responsible for their cats so people abandon cats, some people let their cats outside and they don’t get them fixed and so it is really an issue of the community being responsible for the pets that we have,” Nichols-Young said.

Through the Trap Neuter Return campaign, the Animal Defense League will bring you a trap and tell you where to take the cat for neutering. They also have volunteers who can take the cat into surgery for you. It’s the most effective way to get cats off the street.

They monitor all spay/neuter programs in the state and will help find a location near you.   www.adlaz.org    602-265-7729

Rachel Lund is a graduate student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, a life-long NPR junkie, aunt extraordinaire, puppy mother and college football enthusiast.