News From Terre Haute, Indiana


September 22, 2013

READERS' FORUM: Sept. 22, 2013


Solving Indiana’s cat overpopulation

We need an effective negative feedback policy to control the cat overpopulation.

Currently, we have only a local policy and that just penalizes the empathetic middle class and the poor with fees for taking in homeless animals they find starving in their neighborhoods. Not the lawmakers’ intent, it was just the only option they had.

A more direct policy could only be done on the state level. That would be to siphon the already existing pet food sales taxes into neutering programs. The more cats there are, the more cat food bought, the more tax revenue to spay cats is available.

As a rough estimate, Indiana has a population of about 6.15 million people. If for every four people there is one cat, then that makes for 1.54 million cats. If $20/month is spent on cat food that makes for $16.80/year in taxes the state gets for each cat, or around $26 million dollars/year the state gets from cat food sales. If it cost $100 to spay a cat, then that would be 260,000 cats spayed per year or only 3,095 cats per county.

But if each cat spayed was a female, and the female would have generated four kittens the next year, that would cut down on 12,380 extra cats per county. Newspaper publishers may not realize it, but the cat overpopulation is hurting the newspaper industry. Consumers who would like to buy a daily newspaper are opting for buying a can of cat food instead, because the cat(s) won’t complain about not having a current newspaper but will complain about the lack of cat food.

A possible drawback to this plan is the Medicare Law of Supply and Demand, which is whenever a load of cash is collected from the taxpayers for medical services the prices shift higher.

Instead of having this fund administered by a few $100k/year administrators, it probably would be better to have the Indiana IRS computer just randomly send vouchers to anyone who files taxes. The vouchers would have an expiration date and could only be used to fix female cats. If the taxpayer does not run across a female cat that needed to be fixed then they could turn it over to the local public library. Anyone with a library card can then check out the extra voucher.

When the cat is fixed and recuperated from the surgery, it needs to be put back where it was found, if it already did not have a home. Many people don’t realize that the homeless cat that they found had already adjusted to a very small niche.

The cat knows their immediate territory and already has relationships with humans and other cats. It is cruel to let them languish cooped up in a shelter. They should not be put down because of the situation of being cooped up. That is an avoidable tragedy.

— Richard Blythe

Terre Haute

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