We have been featured in the August Animal Talk magazine “The UWC Feral Cat Project”
For years, the UWC Feral Cat Project (TUFCAT ) has been taking care of the University’s feral cats, and providing the campus community with entertaining reads through its weekly fundraising book sales. And now, TUFCAT finally has a permanent retail space on campus, so lovers of cats and literature can get their fix anytime.
We are always reading books and looking on the internet for information about feeding cats as we never seem to have enough food and mostly the cats have to make do with cheaper brands because of our very limited budget. One of our supporters sent us this interesting tip.
When sociologist Sharyn Spicer started working at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in 1994, she decided to do something about the sick, starving and emaciated feral cats she saw through her office window every day.
Adrian Franklinis, a professor of sociology at the University of Tasmania, has written extensively on ‘animal issues’ and he recently commented on that country’s radical attitude towards feral cats. According to him, “Australia’s fear of the rogue animal reflects our migrant paranoia” (National Times, January 8, 2013). He argues that “intolerance of outsiders is entrenched as a common value in Australia.”
The Australian hatred of cats, especially ferals is well known. The idea that feral cats are responsible for the decimation of indigenous wildlife underlies this sentiment. However a recent article in The Sydney Morning Herald, August 29, 2013 sheds new light on this controversial issue.
Throughout the world there are conflicting views on feral cats, and although they are mostly considered to be a nuisance, there are some places where they are seen as an asset because of their ability to control vermin. Regardless of how we view them, feral cats are a reality in many urban and rural areas and will continue to exist as long as we humans “renege on our contract with the cat”.
Professor Rob Simmons of UCT supervised MA student Sharon George’s thesis. He presented a short course at UCT Summer School in 2010 and the local media reported the findings of this study. We at TUFCAT, along with other cat lovers were very disturbed by the overall tone of this research and the subsequent reports in local newspapers. We hope that in the foreseeable future we can conduct our own study, which will hopefully help to balance these extreme views and in so doing emphasise the supportive role that cats play in human society.
Thank you so much for giving up your Saturday and venturing all the way out to UWC to assist us with repairing and waterproofing the cat shelters. I cannot tell you what a difference this will make in terms of improving the cats’ quality of life and how much it facilitates our job of caring for them.
Marion Island – According to an article by John Yeld (Sunday Argus, 27 March, 2011), feral cats are responsible for destroying the environment on Marion Island. Although it has been described as “South Africa’s most successful large-scale conservation project,” the eradication of thousands of feral cats from Marion Island came at a huge cost. It took more than 30 years of protracted effort using a variety of inhumane methods including the introduction of viruses, poisoning, the use of dogs and finally hunting teams with semi-automatic shotguns to kill off the cats.
Killing cats, dogs, and other mammals in a futile attempt to achieve permanent population reduction is an approach repeatedly attempted by just about every government of every nation on every continent, sometimes on a continuous basis since the Middle Ages, when cat pogroms helped to accelerate the spread of the black rats whose fleas carried bubonic plague. Even after the Black Death killed a third of the human population of Europe, the fallacy of attempting to exterminate cats was not understood, and the civic officials of London repeated the same mistake about 300 years later.