Cats are the last – KATAPULT MV

Prevent your cat from suffering too much. This should be a cat protection regulation. This was also the goal of the Green Party and the Animal Welfare Party, when in 2020 they submitted an application for such a regulation to the Vorpommern-Greifswald county council. County administration received one year to “develop a decree on the protection of free-living cats” […] design and evaluate their financial impact ”. In addition, you also need to find a way to keep an eye on the size of the population. But the deadline in September 2021 has passed without the required design.

There are many free-living cats in the county’s Northeast. They are animals “for which no one feels responsible”. The Animal Welfare Association Greifswald has been operating for over 25 years. Hundreds of cats have already been identified and castrated over the years of the capture and castration campaign. Nevertheless, the association estimates the number of wild and non-neutered cats in and around the Hanseatic city of Greifswald at more than 2,000. “Many free-living cats are very emaciated and sick,” describes the problem by Kerstin Lenz of the state Animal Welfare Association. “In many cases, combat injuries, a cat’s cold, and feline AIDS are causing the animals to slowly die.”

The most problematic, however, is uncontrolled reproduction, which is additionally favored by non-castrated, tame, freely migrating animals. Tierschutzbund Greifswald carried out model calculations for the offspring of one cat over seven years. Accordingly, a cat that gives birth on average two and a half times a year, of which three and a half survive, produces about 237,000 kittens, including their offspring. Compared to the animal protection organization Peta, which counts around 370,000 cats, this is still a conservative calculation. In reality, however, a slightly lower growth rate can be assumed due to lower fertility and shorter life expectancy. Nevertheless, cat populations are growing and are causing animals to suffer more and more. According to Lenz, cat protection laws can counter this.

However, certain conditions must be met to be eligible. As reported by the Rostock district, when asked about it, first of all they must be in “a specific, definable area” […] a large number of free-living cats ”. Second, with “some of these cats” […] considerable pain, suffering and harm ”. Third, it should come from “the large number of animals in the area.” And fourth, “there must be a reasonable belief that reducing the number of cats that move freely in the area will reduce pain, suffering and harm.”

After meeting the conditions and introducing the regulation, such a decision not only facilitates castration of free-living cats. It also obliges the owners of so-called freeroamers to “chip, register and also castrate from the age of six months,” explains Lenz. On the one hand, uncontrolled proliferation is limited. On the other hand, by chipping and registering cats found in animal shelters, it is easier to link their fate to their owners.

The fact that such regulation works can be seen, for example, in the Schwaan office in the Rostock district. There, the district issued a cat protection ordinance in mid-2018. The local animal protection association in Schwaan has been looking for this for over five years. This is not a sure success – says president Manfred Poniatowski.

The positive effects of regulation are already being felt. For example, many cat owners have now intentionally castrated themselves. I: “The regulation on the protection of cats gives advice to those who do not” – knows Poniatowski. In addition, since the regulation was introduced, the association has seen fewer animals found and a slight decrease in the number of newborn free-living kittens.

So why is there still no regulation in the Vorpommern-Greifswald region? Meanwhile, more than one and a half years have passed since the decision of the district council. The animal welfare association does not welcome the long drafting of the regulation. Kerstin Lenz of the state association speaks of “a mess” in this regard, and the Greifswald Animal Protection Association also believes the regulation is “more than overdue”. Michelle Sauck of the Wolgast cat protection association can only agree. “Honestly, we are very frustrated that we still do not have legislation to protect cats,” says KATAPULT MV.

But not only animal rights activists are wondering what is really going on in the county administration. Even the leader of the green parliamentary groups in the district council, Ulrike Berger, cannot explain the reason for the delay. He is “ignorant of the problem and ignorant of the district council,” he says. When asked about the deadline, she was postponed to November 2021. But even then and since then nothing happened, he relates. The reason for the still pending regulation was that she was cited by the county administration as African swine fever.

Asked by KATAPULT MV, the county explained that it was still waiting for evaluation and support from various municipalities. “Some want a cat protection ordinance, other communities feel they have no problem with freely moving cats,” said a spokeswoman. In response to the question of which municipalities are willing or reluctant to comply with the regulation, the district did not want to comment at this point. However, the Veterinary and Food Control Council is trying to draft a regulation in the coming months.

This is not enough for Michelle Sauck of the Wolgast Cat Protection Association. An application for forced castration of cats in Vorpommern-Greifswald is to be submitted this year to the district staroste. So far, almost 2,000 signatures have been collected.

And now the Greens and the ward’s animal protection party are sure they just need to act now. They are working on their own common regulations, which should be presented to the district council before the holidays, says Ulrike Berger. Until then, everyone has to wait. About the fact that the “tragedy” is finally coming to an end. And hopefully not too many new cats are added.

This text appeared in issue 4.

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