Following up on feral cats | News, Sports, Jobs

Dear Annie: After reading the letter about the wife who is out capturing feral cats for spaying and neutering, you should be aware of the Herman Bennett Foundation, which provides free vouchers to vets to cover the costs. I’m sure there are other organizations as well that would help with the costs.

What she is doing is so valuable, not only for the cats but for the community. It shouldn’t be discouraged. — Longtime Reader and Admirer

Dear Longtime Reader and Admirer: Thank you for your kind words. I think whenever we can make this world a better place for both humans and animals, it is a good thing. The next letter gives us a perspective on this issue from Europe.

Dear Annie: I was born in Michigan but live in Italy, and I truly enjoy your column. I am writing about the letter from a frustrated husband signed Done with Cats. I want to address the husband directly in this letter.

I’m what they call here a “gattara,” which means I am a “catwoman.” My husband and I went through a similar situation to yours. When I discovered the existence of a colony of cats in my neighborhood, I registered it with the city’s humane society, which protected the colony by doing so. No animal is put down because they weren’t adopted.

Annie is right; your wife is doing a great service to the cats and community. Cats that are not neutered or spayed risk their lives with disease from cat fights when female cats and, yes, male cats go into heat, not to mention the dangers that roads and cars present to them. Your wife worries, as I do, about their lives, about how unfortunate they are to be outside in all weather extremes, and at first, it’s overwhelming.

I agree with you, after having been a “gattara” for 15 months, that there must be a compromise. My husband told me that all I ever talked about were the feral cats, AND HE WAS RIGHT! So I decided to talk less about them and be quicker with food times. He surprised me by helping me once in a while with moving a cat shelter or constructing one with me, or coming home with dry cat food when he saw it was on sale. If he asks me about the cats, I know to keep my answers short.

Your wife may also be developing friendships with these ladies, and they have a common cause. However, she does not need to go out every night. Experts can show her that you need to NOT feed the cat you want to capture for two days. You can try to feed the neutered ones, but all remaining food after they’ve eaten must be removed. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and not feed the entire colony for those days.

No cat will die of starvation from these measures; just make sure fresh water is always available. Then the trap is placed with tuna, sardines or roasted chicken to attract the cat to be neutered. The best time to catch feral cats is between 10:30 pm and midnight in the summer, and from 7 pm to 9 pm in the winter. Also, I’ve started leaving food and water every two days instead of every day. Once a feral cat is captured, it is extremely rare it will enter the cage a second time.

Your wife is helping the cats, and with a little restraint on her part, and compromised from you, everyone will be better off. — Parma, Italy

“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]

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