Feral Cats: The Sequel

I’d like to report that the problem of feral cats dogging the Compo Beach neighborhood has been solved.

I’d like to, but I can’t.

Alert — and exceedingly frustrated — “06880” reader Patricia McMahon reports:

This situation is not improving whatsoever.

Right now, fleas are swarming in our garage. Unfortunately my husband, myself, our aging dog with liver cancer and my parents are now infected by this.

A neighbor on Danbury Avenue has flea issues now as well.

A feral cat mother in the back of a Compo Beach neighborhood garage.

A feral cat mother in the back of a Compo Beach neighborhood garage.

We are fumigating our garage. Our home will be next, along with my parents’ place in Norwalk.

If fleas are on us, they travel.

The police department told us to call the dog warden. We have contacted other authorities, and not heard back yet.

I’m not sure how to handle this anymore. But we sure are frustrated on Danbury Avenue!

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36 responses to “Feral Cats: The Sequel

  1. I’ve had a similar problem on Cross Highway – and no one I’ve contacted in the town seems willing to either find homes for or eliminate these feral cats.

  2. Celeste Champagne

    Regarding the feral cats, the Humane Society and other organizations can be ‘googled’. In New York City there are organizations that deal with the situation, not so much apparently here in the ‘burbs. http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/feral_cats/

  3. Any chance we can get a estimate for TAILS or PAWS about how much a Trap-Neuter-Release program would cost (irrespective if it is an effective long term solution) or from anyone else for what a Trap and remove to shelter (who may or may not euthanize them) program would cost? I would imagine Dan or area residents could set up a gofundme page and collect a pile of money to do it if the town won’t fund it (though health and safety should be part of town mandate). But we need to know what it would cost.

    Might even make sense to do the release of neutered cats on Sherwood Island to help control the nuisance goose population.

  4. There are numerous places in the Westport that give take in and care for homeless cats while locating suitable home for them. Check our local newspapers where they are advertised. For years we have given a home to a needy cat. Please help them find a home and the love and care they deserve. Thank you.

  5. Patricia McMahon

    I’m involved in animal welfare at a shelter in NYC animalhavenshelter.org
    They’ve guided me with some sound advice and suggestions, but due to the hoarding issue on Norwalk Ave where they are up to 30 cats existing, it’s complicated to say the least.

    • Melissa Ceriale

      Patricia, maybe you could try reaching out to Ermalinda Harper with Community Cats in Norwalk. She helped us adopt a few feral cats a couple of years back for our property and has been very involved with helping out in situations like this. Her email is communitycatsct@yahoo.com. Good luck.

  6. There are numerous places in the Westport area that take in and care for homeless cats while locating a suitable home for them. Check our local newspapers where they are advertised. For years we have given a home to a needy cat. Please help them find a home and the love and care they deserve. Thank you.

  7. I looked at the cat’s photo again. How can you say “no” to someone so darling and needy. Please find him and the others a home.

    • Patricia Hawke, they are Wild! As in Wild– you cannot catch them, wild they do not want to be caught…Paws cannot catch them all, Tailsct cannot catch them all…both groups have been called and both are trying to help. Meanwhile– they are being fed by lady on Norwalk and they are breeding

      The problem is not what to do with all the cute cats, the problem is that we have no control over one (1) person on Norwalk Ave who is (still) feeding cats ((for years)) but not taking ‘care’ of them. No shots, no neutering, no flea preventative…nothing. Just More Cats.. Zero responsibility for thousands of dollars of vet bills to her back door neighbor’s cat which was attacked by the feral/wild cats– not once, but twice. Zero responsibility for fleas or cat poop, disease–etc wherever her 30 cats roam.

      And Yes, the Kittens are adorable, of course they are.
      But they are wild–and kittens can have more! kittens at 5 months old.
      At Compo basin, we live on 1/10 of an acre. So your neighbor’s cat obsessions are your REAL concerns..

      It’s really a crime that we all have had NO Help from the town.
      The police (who said they could not help her with the flea infestation) referred Patricia McMahon and her husband to Animal Welfare and guess what?

      They don’t do cats.

      • Until this deranged individual starts getting fined by the town she will continue to wreck havoc with her neighbors lives. I lived in a homeowners assoc that was having the same problem. The only way we were able to stop the homeowner from continuing to feed over a dozen stray cats was to threaten her with fines. Once that happened she began the process of working with outside organizations at her own cost to get these filthy beasts off our property. You need to remember the obsession these “cat people” have with these disease ridden wild animals will always take precedent over her neighbors well being.

  8. I’m not sure what the answer is but the issue of stray cats and kittens in Westport, particularly in the beach area, is one that has been years in the making. While our group is a dog rescue organization, we’ve done our share of responding to Westport residents in regard to calls placed to Westport Animal Control about litters of kittens – because no other group or individual returned a call. To humanely and skillfully “trap” just one litter of kittens and mother, vet all and rehome them (which involves lengthy boarding as we don’t have cat/kittens fosters) is a costly and time-consuming task if it is to be done thoroughly and humanely. When all is said and done, such an undertaking for just one litter can be between $3,000 and $4,000 – and usually such a task is not rewarded by a donation. We can’t absorb those type of charges and still be able to fund vet care for the dogs impounded at Westport Animal Control as well as provide care for our foster dogs that come from CT residents and over-crowded CT municipal shelters. As Westport Animal Control is not approved as a shelter for cats/kittens and as Westport residents become increasingly frustrated, maybe a protocol should be developed by the town – with the assistance of cat rescue organizations and local veterinarians – in regard to HUMANELY addressing stray cats/kittens by spaying, neutering, vaccinating and safely rehoming and adopting them with funds appropriated for this effort. To read that people want them “poisoned”, “eliminated” – in other words, killed – is disturbing to say the least. I know it’s distressing for some that one phone call doesn’t make a problem go away. It’s a situation that has been years in the making.

  9. Krystof Bondar

    Do you have pet or not if you going to beach or if you live in beach area you get fleas . They in sand , you get them to You car and you home in shoes , towels , blankets over time when you go to beach . DON’T BLAME THE PETS !

    • We have lived 1000 feet from Compo Beach for 45 years and NEVER had flea infestation as described in the article. Get real…the problem here is the number of cats and immediate environment (home) in which they are housed (or not). Take a ride to the specific area in question (you will have no problem finding the house) and you will see for yourself what my beseiged neighbors are talking about.

  10. Why is this not a Health District issue. Fleas!!! They spread diseases to humans. What to we value more human life or feline life? Hmmmm in Westport….let’s see.

  11. Cornelia Fortier

    IMHO, neighbors need to join forces, borrow traps from PAWS and trap these cats. It’s doable. Nutmeg Spay and Neuter http://nutmegclinic.org/services-cats will neuter, give a package of shots for $50 per cat. They can also apply Frontline or another flea killing product. TNR works and the population will be stabilized. Each time a feral cat is neutered, their ear is notched during the surgery so everyone knows it’s been done. If the Compo community can work together on this, it can be solved.

    • $50 per cat seems like a pretty affordable price. Even if there are 100 cats, total cost is only $5,000. Maybe some additional cost to buy/rent traps. Is there some legal reason why the neighbors just can’t do this?

      May make sense to buy traps and keep them permanently around area to keep population under control if the cat-person is unwilling to stop feeding them.

  12. Sell your houses and move up to Danbury! They don’t allow cats and fleas
    to live there.

  13. Introduce a couple of coyotes. Or, hire those pesky Canada geese and pay them union wages. Problem solved.

  14. Frontline works pretty well. Just put a few drops down the small of your back in you should be ok for 30 days or so. 😉

  15. As they say Priscilla “Beauty is in the eye the Beholder” and no the cat in the photo doesn’t look “darling”. Looks to me like a flea ridden animal who urinates and defecates in neighbors yards and gardens and is a nuisance that needs to be eradicated from surrounding area.

  16. Hi–I just read all of the comments and no one mentioned approaching the Westport Humane Society on Post Rd. They are a well-funded non-kill shelter and last time I was there, they had a significant amount of open space for cats. Perhaps a Compo Beach neighborhood/Human Society/Westport Animal Control partnership to catch/neuter/spay and rehome these cats is the way to go. The key is someone in the Compo Beach neighborhood taking leadership on the issue. By the way, Westport Animal Control usually has a few Have-a-Heart traps available to borrow and local hardware stores carry them too. At minimum catch cats and bring them to the Humane Society. You an also contact your RTM reps (each area has 4) and ask them for help.

    • The Connecticut Humane Society is NOT a no-kill shelter, in fact they ARE A KILL SHELTER. The reason they can say they’re not a kill shelter is because they kill the dogs and cats in northern CT.

      • Patricia McMahon

        They were never a consideration on my part. Totally agree with your statement

        • I understand the preference for a different solution but, just out of curiosity, if it came down to status quo (i.e. living with unchecked cat population ravaging the neighborhood and fleas in your house) or kill shelter, which would you prefer?

          Hopefully it won’t come to that, but….

          • A different solution would be to move the cats/cat lovers to Pere-Lachaise,
            and wait for Gertrude and friends to arrive… a place where all seem to get along, no matter their stripe. Chit chat, kit-kat…

  17. My understanding is that feral cats cannot be domesticated. Is that true?

    • I know very young ones can but I would think the best thing to do is confer with the Human Society.

      • Patricia McMahon

        Hi Lyn.
        Most local animal services i personally called for assistance and both WASA and PAWS were not available at this time to help. Their shelters are full to capacity. Other organizations have never returned my call.
        My friend Dorris Harris founder of TAILS
        stepped in to help and successfully rescue 3 of the kittens from our property.
        They are now healthy , thriving and soon available for adoption .
        I’m forever grateful for her help and inspired by her endless work for animal rights and wellbeing.

    • My father brought home a “kitten” sold by a boy at the Westport train station. After a few days we decided to name it “O.J.” Fitting.

    • Sharon Paulsen

      My hubby and I took in a feral cat that, according to our neighbors, was on her “own” for easily 7-10 years before he and I moved into the neighborhood (Trumbull).

      She was previously owned and abandoned, so she was already spayed and such, thank goodness.

      When a particularly nasty winter storm hit us one holiday season, we decided to bring her inside before freezing to death. (Long story leads up to this decision … but, not gonna write a book about it here, lol).

      I’ve had cats and dogs before, so I easily trained her to use a litter box, created comfey (cat only) spaces for her to sleep and so she could get acclimated to being indoors, pulled ticks off her, used natural methods to get rid of fleas, took her to vet for checkup and nail trims.

      She turned out to be my best little friend, and as I healed her and gave her a safe place to live out her senior years (a full 8 years after I took her in), she also soothed and healed me (especially during a tough time with work and finances).

      So, yes, it can be done. Cats have multiple personality traits and issues, and mine just happen to fit with “her human” counterpart.

      Patience and willingness is a must.

      It doesn’t always work out that way. The situation just sort of fell into my lap … and it was good.

      She’s passed on, as it where. Had to put her down in June this year. Broke my heart. Not ready for any more pets, for awhile.

    • Thank you all for your interest. It is not true – feral cats can become loving members of your family (with proper MD shots and check-up, of course).

      • You can “tame” almost any wild animal – lions, tigers, bears, monkeys included. But if they have been feral for any period of time, like other wild animals, cats instincts are feral. The only thing that distinguishes them is they are much smaller/weaker and can do less damage.

  18. I still think that with your problem as bad as it is, at least speak with the Westport Human Society. It is a MUCH larger organization with more staff than the wonderful but smaller organizations you have listed above (PAWS, TAILS, etc.). I have adopted several pets form the Westport Human Society and have worked with them over the years and have always been impressed with their caring and sensitivity. I just took a look at their web site and this is what they say about being a “no-kill” shelter:

    “CHS discourages the use of the phrase “no-kill” because the term is very misleading. CHS is a limited euthanasia organization and never have to euthanize an animal for lack of space, age, breed or for time limits. However, we have a responsibility to ensure that dangerous animals are not placed in the community and that no pet suffers from a medical condition that is beyond our ability to provide treatment. CHS does provide medical rehabilitation, behavioral rehabilitation, enrichment and training programs, and has developed cooperative efforts with other animal welfare organizations and rescue groups to ensure the successful placement of 93% of the pets that come through our doors.”

  19. We had at least 20 Feral cats in our back yard. With the help of the kind people from Friends Of Animals and the other good souls at PAWS we were able to get most spayed/ neutered and release. We put out eglos with hay and contacted many pet store companies for food samples. After many seasons with so much community help from animal lovers, we found homes for all, three that live with us, surviving flea baths and worm check and basic health clearance they acllimated to our home and our wonderful loving pets. It takes comitment, patience, compassion and getting your hands dirty. Many people look away, these cats struggle for their lives I hope someone in the community steps up. I phisically can nol longer take this on. I hope someone is able to get a group to help these cats. Your flea problem will be gone and a good deed will be done.

    • Sharon Paulsen

      Sally, love this!
      I took in a stray kitty and did much of the same as you did! I talked about my experience earlier in the comments (in a reply to Stephanie, up above).

      • Dear Sharon, I am sorry for your loss. You are an exceptional person. You gave love, security and kindness to a lost soul, who became family. I am heart warmed by your story. You made a difference and gave hope and love. Thank you. ❤️