Are Humans an Invasive Species?

Are Humans an Invasive Species?
My childhood cat Einstein in his old age.

Strong beams of sunlight would shine on the fur of my cat Einstein during the brutal summer days when my family lived in Texas. He loved the heat in his old age. We dubbed that period of his life “the retirement years.” You could often find him napping under the leaves of the elephant ear plants that bordered our inground pool. He also enjoyed being sprawled out on the concrete patio, completely relaxed — truly not a care in the world. You could see his age — he definitely thinned out over the years. You could feel his hip bones when petting him. But despite being 16 years old, he was living a life much more relaxing than his origins.

I was a toddler when he first made an appearance. Back then, the woods, the46-acre wildlife preserve that surrounded my neighborhood in Stony Brook, New York, was Einstein’s home. The day after we spotted him walking out of the woods and onto our lawn, we made sure to set out some food for him. He was scraggly and around two years old. He mainly had white fur with black tabby spots. The white of his fur was impressively pristine for a cat raised in the wild. Over time, he visited us more frequently. We would leave the door open for him if he wanted to come inside. And one day, he did. My heart fluttered with excitement, and I begged my mom to let us keep him. To my surprise, she approved, but under one condition: “Only if he stays.” My eyes and spirit lit up immediately. I was overjoyed but so nervous that he wouldn’t want to stay. He did stay, actually for the remainder of his life — including our move from New York to Texas.

Einstein was my first cat. He was never fully domesticated and always stayed in touch with his wilder side. He would sometimes leave our house for days but eventually return for a warm bed and some food. No matter how much he acted aloof, I always felt protected by him. I giggled to myself on bus rides to elementary school when I would look out the window to find him sitting on our neighbor’s lawn. When we got a dog, Einstein would go on walks with us, even though he would act like he wasn’t with our group. He would stalk us as we walked, waiting until we were far enough away, and then firing ahead of us at full speed.

I miss Einstein, and I’m reminded of him when the outdoor cat on our block walks down our street — which is ironically in the same neighborhood Einstein was from. The cat looks suspiciously similar to him, which is why we also call him Einstein. I think of Einstein’s story whenever I see a stray cat — and I see them frequently. Look behind strip malls, in alleyways, down a street or even in the trees of a neighbor’s backyard — unowned cats are everywhere. Long Island is riddled with them.

A cat from the Centereach colony. You can tell it has been TNRed by the eartip. September 30, 2023.

The numbers vary vastly, but it is estimated that 30 to 80 million unowned cats live in the United States. These unowned cats could be feral, stray or community cats. Feral cats have never had human contact and were born and raised outdoors. Strays are cats that once had homes but now live outdoors — which is what Einstein was. They are typically either abandoned or lost. Community cats are strays that still live outside, but a community member or group takes care of them. However, the ones that traverse backyards might not be any of the three. It could potentially be an owned cat that is let outside by its owners.

The true history of the domestication of cats is highly debated. Though they typically live with humans, unlike dogs, cats are still capable of living on their own. Unowned cats can live together in groups known as feral cat colonies. Even though these cats can live without human assistance, that does not mean their life is a pleasant one. Without assistance, they might struggle to get enough food or bear through the cold winter months in New York. Like my family felt with Einstein, some people also feel called to their rescue.

Jenny Luca, of Ronkonkoma, has what she calls a cat zoo, many have been fosters with serious injuries — one with an amputated foot, another with facial burns and one with a broken pelvis. The 36-year-old has been drawn to helping cats in need for years. Driving home one day when she was in her early 20s, she spotted kittens on the front lawn of a house she passed by. “I took those kittens home, and my mom wanted to kill me,” Luca said. The cats were covered in fleas. “It was a whole mess,” she added. After helping the family by taking the kittens and bringing them to the vet to get them fixed, she eventually was able to find them homes.

After that house reached out to Luca for further help regarding even more kittens, Luca started searching for an alternative. “I can’t keep taking kittens,” Luca felt back then. “There’s got to be something.” A few Google searches later, she found a Farmingdale veterinarian that helped her through the process of trap-neuter-return (TNR) for the first time.

TNR is a means of reducing the overall unowned cat population by trapping and bringing them to the vet to get spayed or neutered, and then returning them back to their home outside. A cat that has been trapped, neutered and returned can be spotted by their trademark indicator — the tip of their ear is clipped off or marked with a notch taken out of it. This is done while they are under anesthesia during sterilization. It is a quick and easy way to tell if a cat is a part of a TNR program.

In Luca’s first year, she spayed and neutered about 20 cats. Now, after about 16 years of experience rescuing and trapping feral cats, she can trap, neuter and return that same amount of cats within about two days.

After years of doing TNR on her own, Luca teamed up with some other rescuers to bring the issue to the Town of Brookhaven. “We started going to town board meetings and making noise, saying we need a TNR program,” Luca said.

There’s too many cats. This is a problem. Enough is enough.

— Jenny Luca, Ronkonkoma

Through their efforts, a contract with the town was formed to provide free TNR to the community. 2023’s contract allotted for a total expenditure of $99,750, a $28,500 increase from 2022. TNR Taskforce was created by Luca in conjunction with the contract. Now, about four years later, Luca estimates that TNR Taskforce has done around 2500 TNRs for local cats. The contract is a part of the Public Good Program, meaning that the Town of Brookhaven is a co-sponsor and the program gets covered by Public Good Insurance.

The contract is a great thing for local trappers who have been paying the costs of TNR out of their own pockets. “There’s a lot of variables, a lot of money and a lot of time involved,” Luca said. She estimated that it costs about $100 per cat, depending on which vet you go to — and that doesn’t include the time and money that goes into buying traps, food and shelter for these cats. The contract benefits anyone who is in need of assistance, including rescuers and independent trappers who are not affiliated with any particular rescue organization. “They should not be spending their own money spaying and neutering,” Luca added.

“Every dollar they’re not spending on spay-neuter of feral cats, they are putting back into their rescue, which means they can help more animals,” she said.

Due to the price of spay-neuter, the $99,750 in Brookhaven’s contract only covers 950 cats — $105 per cat. That number was quickly reached in July, five months before the year came to a close. TNR Taskforce hasn’t been able to do any TNRs since the funding was used up. That hasn’t stopped the community from continuing to reach out to Luca for help.

“For 2024 so far, we have probably 100 people on a waiting list for help,” she said. The last time the list was checked, this accounted for about 300 cats. She is hoping that in the future the contract can be set for more than a year at a time. The 2023 contract had been set on Dec. 15, 2022, and Luca is shooting for a similar timeframe. For now, she is waiting for the new contract — alongside community members, trappers and the feral cats as well.

Even though TNR Taskforce is out of funding for the remainder of 2023, these feral colonies continue to be cared for by community members.

A cat from the Centereach colony. You can tell it has been TNRed by the eartip. September 30, 2023.
Cats at the Centereach cat colony. September 30, 2023.

A brown tabby cat with big cheeks sat in front of the fence, watching and waiting for food. He must’ve recognized the car of Lisa Grisanzio — a Smithtown resident who is one of their feeders and has been taking care of cat colonies for years. Once she opened her car door, the cat bolted away in a flash. Somehow, the rain still hadn’t stopped — it had been days of historic rainfall in New York. The weather was no match for Grisanzio, she feeds the cats multiple times a week, at multiple colonies — rain or shine. On weekdays, she arrives at the colonies at 6:45 a.m. before heading to work.

She led into the wooded area that bordered a strip mall, impressively balancing all of her supplies — plastic bags with containers of dry food and prepped paper plates with wet food, a reused Arizona iced tea jug filled with water and a roll of paper towels. She prepares the food and supplies herself and pays for it out of her own pocket.

She approached the first station, a low-to-the-ground structure covered in a green tarp and shrouded by tree branches, dirt and shrubs. She reached underneath to reveal food and water bowls and paper plates left over from yesterday’s feeding. She methodically cleaned the bowls that were covered in damp mud due to the rain and replaced the food and water. She’s being watched from afar by a familiar face through the brush — the squinty faced tabby that watched Grisanzio pull up.

This colony, Grisanzio explained, has reduced a bit over the years. At first it was about 12 to 15 cats. “Now we’re down to four regulars and two stragglers,” she said — a result of the TNR efforts from people like her and Jenny Luca. Suddenly, a black cat walked over to the tabby and nuzzled into his side. Grisanzio giggled at the sight. “These two are besties,” she said.

A car ride around the corner brought Grisanzio to the second colony of the day, which was bigger than the first. This colony was once around 40 cats years ago, and it is now down to around 15 or 20. Expectant cats can be spotted similarly to the Hidden Pictures puzzles in the Highlights magazine for children. One moment, it’s just the tire of a parked car — the next, the silhouette of a black cat becomes visible. Upon a closer look, the cat is not entirely black. Across her cheeks is a patch of white fur, dubbing her “Mustache.”

A different brown tabby — this one with a bit of a snaggletooth — waited in the grass and licked his lips. Grisanzio calls him Tigger, but his name isn’t consistent with all of the feeders. Tigger responds to more than one name. He followed her over to the feeding station, and more cats seemed to appear out of thin air. I had been trying to keep my mouth shut for most of the excursion, but I couldn’t help but let an excited squeal slip out. They swarmed Grisanzio, remaining slightly wary of my strange presence. Some of the cats included a gray one who hopped out of a cat house and reached its paws forward to stretch into downward dog. Another was an orange cat who strolled over from the neighboring wood. The group stood near, but generally kept their distance — except for Tigger, who jumped on top of the car beside the station to get some pets from Grisanzio.

Grisanzio used to pay for spay and neuter, but has been able to save some money once she found out about TNR Taskforce’s contract with the town. However, now that TNR Taskforce’s efforts have been put on pause due to the contract running out, Grisanzio doesn’t have plans of doing TNR for the remainder of the year — though she continues to feed and maintain the colonies no matter what.

Lisa Grisanzio pays for the food out of pocket for the cats at the Centereach cat colony. September 30, 2023.

Cat houses similar to the ones at the Centereach colony can be spotted around Stony Brook University’s campus, nestled between the trees of the woods that enclose the property. Since those same woods led to our house, my family always theorized that the onslaught of cats that would show up on our doorstep were often cats abandoned by university students. It’s possible that Einstein was one of these cats, especially since he showed up wearing a collar. Over the years, the university’s cat population has dwindled from about 500 down to around 100, due to a TNR program run by Stony Brook Cat Network. Stony Brook Cat Network is primarily run by students and uses donations to do TNR. Like Luca and TNR Taskforce, Stony Brook Cat Network can’t do TNR without these funds.

Christina Artusa, of Holbrook, used to be the vice president of Stony Brook Cat Network while she was a biology student. Now, she is pursuing a master’s of arts in teaching biology at Stony Brook and serves as one of the Cat Network’s graduate advisors. Though the Cat Network wasn’t her first venture into TNR — it was a feral cat that paid her family’s house visits from time to time.

“My mom and my family didn’t want me feeding her,” Artusa said. “So I secretly decided to feed her on my own because she was adorable.” Artusa would sneak the cat some turkey whenever she could. After some time, Artusa noticed her family was growing quite attached to their visitor. Thanksgiving that year showed a change in her mom. “My mom decided to leave out turkey for her,” she said. “Everybody deserves to eat on Thanksgiving.” After this cat had a litter of kittens in the yard next door, Artusa brought her for TNR, which led Artusa to join Stony Brook Cat Network. Artusa’s family still takes care of the cat to this day.

Similarly to Einstein, Artusa calls her cat “half-feral.” “She still kind of does her own thing, but she loves being pet by us,” she said. “In the winter time, she will actually come inside and sleep over in our house overnight, and then she’ll want to be let out in the morning and do her own thing during the day.”

The American Bird Conservancy’s page for cats indoors as of November, 28, 2023.

The furry and cuddly exterior of cats is misleading — they have evolved into excellent predators. Their spines can lengthen for speed bursts, and their malleable bodies make slinking through small spaces a breeze. Legend says they have nine lives — a testament to their perseverance and agility. According to an article published by scientific journal Nature Communications, cats kill between “1.3–4.0 billion birds and 6.3–22.3 billion mammals annually.” The study also cites free-ranging cats as the greatest cause of U.S. bird and mammal death influenced by humans. The majority of these kills are caused by unowned cats, like the ones who live in colonies across Long Island — the ones people like Luca, Artusa and Grisanzio have been trying to help. Though TNR programs and feeding stray cats feels like an act of kindness, these feral cats still can cause harm to the environment.

The American Bird Conservancy’s (ABC) webpage about keeping cats indoors opens up with a photo of a bright yellow bird strangled under a fluffy white cat paw. Organizations like ABC take a strong stand against TNR through their invasive species programs. The domestic cat, known by the scientific name felis silvestris catus, is looked at by ABC as an invasive species.

“[Cats have] been spread to new environments by people, and those introductions to those environments have caused tremendous harm for native wildlife,” Grant Sizemore, the director of invasive species programs at ABC, said.

“I think TNR on its surface makes sense to people,” Sizemore said. “If you sterilize a cat, obviously, it’s not going to reproduce. And of course, no one is saying that’s not true. It is absolutely true. But we have to think about it from the population standpoint, not just from the individual cat.”

Sizemore and ABC state that TNR programs are ineffective due to not being in an enclosed area. “Many of the studies have shown that the number of cats that are sterilized is simply inconsequential,” Sizemore said.

The main issue they take with TNR is specifically in regards to the “R” in TNR — “return.” Returning these cats outdoors exposes them to a variety of threats, like getting hit by cars or attacks by wildlife.

You know, we consider it animal cruelty to abandon a pet animal onto the landscape. This is exactly the same thing.

— Grant Sizemore, director of invasive species programs at ABC

When my family would set out food outside for the cats who would visit, sometimes we would hear the sound of the bowl moving in the middle of the night and peek through the windows to find the gloved bandits that were raccoons, taking handfuls of cat food as stealthily as they could. But like most, we never invited these raccoons into our hearts and into our homes the same way we would with the cats. But, as Sizemore put it, “cats are actually the number one source of rabies among domestic animals in the United States.” He added that people are much more likely to be exposed to rabies through outdoor cats than with raccoons, simply because it is easy to melt at the sight of a cat’s adorably big eyes and small nose and want to pet them. Though I have also been known to find raccoons adorable as well, just not enough to cuddle one.

“It’s not uncommon to see cats feeding at these cat colonies side by side with raccoons, which are the primary rabies vector species in New York,” Sizemore said.

In addition to exposing the population to rabies, cats are uniquely situated as a breeding grounds for a dangerous parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii. The parasite’s reproductive cycle can only happen in cats. But from the cat, the parasite can be transmitted to other mammals and birds, causing an irreversible infection known as toxoplasmosis.
“Harms caused by toxoplasmosis include fetal deformities, blindness, deafness, organ failure, and especially in those with compromised immune systems, it can cause death,” Sizemore said.

“It’s a fairly serious disease that kind of flies under the radar,” he added.

So, as an alternative to TNR, Sizemore suggested a solution in two parts. “The first is we need to turn off the tap and stop owned cats that are roaming the landscape, contributing to this cat crisis that we’re experiencing,” he said. He explained that this can be done through a means of “responsible cat ownership,” which would be keeping them within the owner’s watch, vaccinated, sterilized and with identification.

“Not just opening the door,” he added, “kicking it out and saying, ‘Oh I hope it returns in a week or two.’”

The second part of the solution would change the meaning of the “R” in TNR, from “release” to “remove.”

“We need to remove them from the landscape, either by putting them into enclosures, adopting them out, placing them in long term sanctuaries, or euthanasia,” he said. “But under no circumstances should they be abandoned back onto the landscape.”

He also added that feeding these cats doesn’t cause a reduction in the death of small wildlife like birds and mice. Cats naturally have an innate prey drive, which is why most indoor cats go nuts over a string or a feather toy — or like my cat, a strange obsession with zip ties. “That’s the predatory response that cats have completely separate from their need to eat,” Sizemore said.

“A lot of research has shown that cats will hunt and kill wildlife, even if they are fed.”

If anything, feeding outdoor cats could be bolstering them to be even stronger predators. “It makes those cats that exist healthier, and perhaps even better at hunting and killing wildlife in the local area,” he said.

Cats are a constant threat to many species, even contributing to the extinction of 63 species, Sizemore emphasized. “And one of those that is potentially at risk and found on Long Island is piping plover,” he added. “The American Bird Conservancy actually sued the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in 2016 for violation of the U.S. Endangered Species Act, because of their facilitation of cat colonies at Jones Beach State Park. Ultimately, that case was settled, and the cat colonies were removed by New York State Parks. I believe the cats were all taken to sanctuaries to live out the rest of their lives.”

“While I think that those [against TNR] have great points, and they want to protect their birds,” Stony Brook Cat Network’s Christina Artusa said. “You can’t help feral cats from being in the wild, because a lot of times they end up as dumps.” She also mentioned that cats could accidentally get out and never find their way back home. “You could just manage the problem.”

Leigh Wixson, the director of the Smithtown Animal Shelter and Adoption Center, said she’s had people approach her to demand the shelter to use their own space to create a sanctuary instead of doing TNR, adding that relocation can cause unnecessary stress for the cats. “It is unrealistic for them to think that some place, some magical mythical place, is going to take all of these massive numbers of cats,” she said.

Was my cat Einstein a part of the problem? He lived both indoors and outdoors. It never seemed like an option to not let him be outside. He was the type to throw a fit if we didn’t let him out, so much so that it never occurred to me to not allow it. He just seemed so happy to be outside.

“Yeah, that’s what they are meant to do,” Wixson said. “They’re meant to be hunters. They’re meant to be out there, but between injury, people who hate cats and other stray cats giving them diseases, it is just a safer life to have your cat indoors.”

“It’s much safer to be an indoor cat,” said Jennifer Van de Kieft, a cat behaviorist from Brooklyn, sitting in front of a cat tree stationed directly in front of a brightly lit window. “But there’s some negatives with it too.”

Van de Kieft currently has five rescue cats that live with her in her apartment. She admits that five cats is a lot. “I can barely keep on top of it, and I’m a professional,” she said.

She explained that her first cat, Clarence, was part Siamese and an indoor-outdoor cat. “He was really smart, and we basically couldn’t keep him in,” she said. “He could open the doors.”

“But there were lots of challenges with it. Neighborhood kids would shoot him with a BB gun,” she added. Clarence would get into trouble with the neighbors, and Van de Kieft recalled a story somewhere along the lines of him getting stuck in the ceiling of their neighbor’s house. After Clarence, her family stuck to indoor cats only. And when Van de Kieft started working with clients as a cat behaviorist, she was strict on advising against allowing cats outdoors. Over time, she has noticed that maybe there were negatives to indoor-only in certain situations and that allowing a cat for some outdoor enrichment could be helpful. It is dependent on the situation and comfort of both the cat and their owner.

One of Catio Bob’s custom builds.

Similar to Van de Kieft’s Clarence and my Einstein, the American Bird Conservancy’s (ABC) Grant Sizemore grew up with an outdoor cat who he recalled would hunt and kill wildlife. “I thought that was great. I thought that was part of nature and good for the cat,” he said. But he stated that once he got older, he changed his mind on letting his cats outside.

Van de Kieft has the opposite perspective. “I see that it can be so beneficial for the cat, even though it’s definitely more dangerous,” she said. “The benefits can sometimes outweigh that. Like quality of life. Do you want to live 18 years in prison? Or do you want to live, maybe less years, but you’re living this life of adventure and fun? I pick the adventure and fun over prison.”

A lot of the behavioral issues that she deals with can be rooted in lack of stimulation. To Van de Kieft, the outdoors can be full of exciting things for cats to explore. She did emphasize that the ideal situation isn’t to just let your cat have a free-for-all outside, though. Like Sizemore, she recommended cat-safe outdoor spaces to provide extra enrichment. She even mentioned getting a cat-proof fence if your cat loves the backyard.

One of the options that Van de Kieft mentioned as a means of outdoor solutions for cats was a catio. It is a funny name — a portmanteau of “cat” and “patio.” Catios are basically cat condos on steroids. They come in many different shapes and sizes, but most of them contain some recurring structures — platforms that form a jungle gym for a cat all screened in by fencing wire. Though they are quite DIY-friendly, some choose to leave the catio building to the professionals.

“You don’t have to worry about them being predated on, and you don’t have to worry about them escaping,” Robert Johnston — better known as Catio Bob — said. Johnston, 65, has been building catios for the past five years. Johnston’s background is in construction, specifically 17 years of building group enclosures for large animals — “from mosquitoes to gorillas,” he said with a warm southern accent. When he was ready to retire, he knew he would need something to keep him busy. He began building catios, which very quickly became very popular. Suddenly, he had a full-time job again.

Johnston admitted that he thought the pandemic meant the end to his new business, but the exact opposite happened. “I attribute a lot of that to people just realizing that their pets need enrichment and entertainment just as much as they do,” he said.

Some of the catios that Johnston creates make me jealous of the cats who get to use it. One, completely made out of cedar with a 40-foot tunnel leading through the woods into what Johnston calls a “catzebo” — a gazebo for cats.

Catios aren’t just fun, they come with many benefits for cats. “Your neighbors are going to like you a lot better because your cats won’t be digging in their pristine gardens,” Johnston said.

“Number two, you no longer have them out there preying on birds and other small animals. They can see them, but they just can’t get to them,” he added. Johnston said after almost six years of having his own catio, only one bird has ever gotten inside, which he remarked that the bird let the cats pull it in.

“You keep your cats contained, you are good neighbors, they’re not out predating on birds, small chipmunks, rabbits and everything else. They’re not bringing presents back into your house for you.”

In addition to that, he explained that catios are very beneficial to households with multiple cats, as there is now “neutral territory,” which lowers the amount of issues within the group.

It is important to note that cats that might not have outdoor enrichment as an option can still adjust to an indoor life. Van de Kieft recommends spending time with your cat to find out what enrichment activities would work best for them, and to make “indoor life as pleasant and pleasurable as possible.”

“Just have access to fresh air, or having the windows cracked,” she said. “I always try to have a window cracked, just because I feel like I can go outside anytime and my cats can’t. Just getting that fresh air is really great.”

If you want to get extra fancy, Johnston recommends installing indoor fixtures that bring the jungle-gym spirit of a catio indoors.

“I feel like cats have very particular needs. If you’re going to invite a cat into your home, and they’re confined in your home, you have an obligation to meet those needs,” Van de Kieft added.

One of Catio Bob’s custom builds.
Cats at the Centereach cat colony. September 30, 2023.

“There are cats on every single block on Long Island,” Jenny Luca said. “And us, as rescuers, it will never be enough.”

It is unclear if there is a definitive answer to what should be done about the feral cat problem on Long Island. Looking at all the evidence against TNR, the argument makes sense — cats are excellent hunters, transmitters of disease and subject to dangers when living outside. But is the effort made by TNR programs better than no effort at all? Those like Luca, Artusa and Grisanzio have seen definite reductions in the overall number of feral cats in each colony. And the reality of it is, it might not be possible to find these feral cats other spaces or homes to live in.

The two sides might have more in common than they think. Through looking out your back window, you might see the problem for yourself, by looking at the birds, or your neighbor’s cat who snuck in by hopping the fence. “People need to get proactive in their own backyards,” Luca said. Both Luca and Sizemore just want what they think is best for the animals.

“This is really an opportunity for all of us, especially cat owners, to make a difference in terms of bird conservation and wildlife conservation. You can have a tremendous impact, just by taking a few simple steps to keep your cat and wildlife safe,” Sizemore said.

“I think every one of us can agree that there is a tremendous amount of suffering going on, and there is nothing more important than population control,” Luca said.

Wixson stressed Long Island’s unique situation. “You see it even with the deer encroaching on our space,” she said. “We’re running out of room.”

For now, these efforts of population reduction will continue, whether that be typical TNR, relocation or an educational push to advise people to keep their cats inside. But if nothing is done, the problem will definitely only get worse. The choice is left up to the perception of cats, or more so, how humans will choose to be held accountable for an animal they have brought onto the land. The entire matter has left my head spinning. It is unclear if TNR should truly be considered abandonment — cats are often pets, but it also seems like they have the skills to live outside on their own.

It has been very clear to me that the feral cat problem on Long Island is abundant. Einstein wasn’t the only cat who showed up to our door, he was just the only one who stuck around. Josephine, OJ and many others were recurring characters at our doorstep throughout my childhood. My other childhood cat, Bella, was found in a garbage can near Riverhead. My current cat, Dottie, is a rescue from the Islip Animal Shelter. She is my first fully indoor cat, who even has a sort of catio of her own — a three-season room that she lounges in for hours, patiently observing the squirrels and birds who run free in our backyard.

Cats are everywhere, and though they may seem more approachable than the average racoon, the feral ones might not be much different. Yes, I do feel that TNR is a good option to keep the population from exploding. On the other hand, I agree that cats pose a major threat to the wildlife that I sit outside and observe with my mother in the afternoons. But is it realistic to rehome the entire outdoor cat population? And if TNR isn’t the answer, and neither is rehoming or relocating, Sizemore mentioned one final option — euthanasia. Not only does that option seem concerning, it likely won’t bode well with the general population, cat lover or not. The questions are endless, but one thing is for certain — these cats aren’t going anywhere.

“What would be your answer?” Luca asked. “To kill something, to relocate it? What is your solution to the humans that are the [most] invasive species in the world?”

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