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'Cat Crazed' Documentary: We Can't Just Blame Cat Ladies Anymore

by Chris Jancelewicz, posted Jan 5th 2011 1:00PM

It seems like stray cats are everywhere -- you can spot them darting under a dumpster or lurking in the bushes in the front yard, scrounging for food or looking for handouts. In both cities and rural environs the feline population is exploding, with no foreseeable solution in sight. Director Maureen Palmer takes a look at this crisis in 'Cat Crazed,' a one-hour documentary airing on CBC Doc Zone on Thursday, January 6.

"Would you ever dream of opening up your door at 11PM and booting out your dog to roam the streets for the night?" asks Bill Bruce, the director of animal services in Calgary. "Well, that's what hundreds of thousands of cat owners do -- and that's why we have a cat crisis."

Palmer's documentary asserts that we all have the power to change the situation, rather than just blaming the infamous 'cat ladies' among us. In honor of the furry feline's 9 lives, here are 9 facts that 'Cat Crazed' brings to the forefront:

1. Just as there are 'cat people,' there are also 'bird people.' The cat overpopulation dilemma has created a bird-conscious movement, where groups of activists have banded together to eradicate/move feral cat colonies in order to save birds. Feral cats kill an estimated 1 billion birds a year.

2. In two years, two cats can produce 500 kittens and in seven years -- 420,000 kittens!

3. So many cat owners think of their cats as wild animals, and that's why they let them out to roam the streets at night. But the fact of the matter is that an exclusively indoor cat will live at least 3-4 years longer than a cat that goes outside. Plus fewer birds will bite the dust.

4. "Trap, neuter, return" has become the mantra for dealing with the overpopulation problem. Thousands of good Samaritans have taken it upon themselves to rescue an animal, get them fixed, and then re-release them from whence they came.

5. Organizations like the Stray Cat Alliance and Alley Cat Allies have popped up in the hopes of eradicating the plight of feral cats. These celebrity-backed groups are gaining some serious traction in the fight.

6. Did you know that there are cats that sell for over $49,000 (USD) at cat shows? Well, now you know.

7. Cats rule YouTube; by far, there are more videos of cats on the site than any person or thing.

8. Richmond, B.C. is home to North America's largest no-kill shelter, which houses 1000 cats.

9. Believe it or not, but a solution to this problem is already in the works in Calgary, Alberta. Bill Bruce (quoted above) has implemented a spay and neuter center for low-income families. The cat is then implanted with a chip, and if it escapes its home, it can be easily returned to the owner. Early results: the local shelter is far below capacity and less birds are being killed. Everybody wins!

If you're a cat lover, or if you know someone who is, curl up with your favorite kitty and check out this doc.

'Cat Crazed' is airing on Thursday, Jan. 6 at 9PM on CBC Doc Zone; Jan. 7 at 10PM on CBC News Net, and then again on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 5PM on CBC News Net.

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Why on earth? Because we need to do all we can to help native wildlife - why on earth should we sustain a non-native invasive predator? People don't 'let them be' - they feed them and they multiply. Yes, the instinct of the cat is to hunt which is precisely why humans need to do something to ensure that cats don't wipe out local populations of wildlife. There is nothing inherently outdoors about the domestic cat. There is nothing 'natural' about the domestic cat in the sense that they have no native habitat - we humans domesticated a true wild cat - we let her roam freely and breed uncontrollably - now wildlife pays the price and the cats, too. Any time a human allows a cat to roam freely, dumps one, or re-abandons one through TNR, habitat is further degraded.

January 09 2011 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cats kill and eat birds because it's instinctual. They're carnivores. Why on earth would people move them so less birds bite the dust? I understand having pets neutered/spayed to control breeding in populated areas, but moving them? Get real. Between feeding them the garbage that comes out of cans, and keeping an inherently outdoor animal indoors, we already have them living lives which are against their natural instincts. Let them be.

January 08 2011 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The bird "fact" is mis-leading since the number one threat to birds it HABITAT LOSS created by HUMANS not cats....SHEESH ALREADY!

January 06 2011 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


January 05 2011 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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