Did you know that there’s a town in New Jersey named after everyone’s favorite lasagna-eating cartoon cat? To clarify, it’s not REALLY named after the cat. It just so happens to share the same name! The city of Garfield, NJ sits in Bergen County. Now, it seems that this aptly named town is dealing with quite a “cat”-astrophe. The growing “purr”-oblem is in the form of a feral feline takeover. And this appears to be an issue with no resolve in sight.
The residents of the city of Garfield are growing seriously concerned–and majorly stressed–as a result.
For example, there are cats on chairs, cats on cars and lounging cats on pool covers. Not surprisingly, all across the city there are even cats on roofs! They are seen everywhere the eye goes. But the cats seem to be taking over with crazy cat antics and shenanigans.
A relatively smaller town, the city of Garfield is home to roughly 30,000 residents. Councilwoman for the city, Erin Delaney, explains:
“The feral cat issue has reached epidemic proportions. We have to be proactive and work for a way to help both sides,” she says. “I don’t want to be cruel, but it is a health issue.”
GARF, which stands for Garfield Animal Rescue Foundation, was founded by the city’s former mayor, Tana Raymond. To date, the group has been proactive in their TNR efforts. But still the feral feline population is taking over the city. Now the residents have had enough. There are multiple homeless cats defecating in people’s yards. They are mating rampantly and even vomiting in the streets.
Seems like the town of Garfield is stuck in a furever case of the Mondays!
Meet Bonnie Nilsen, AKA the Cat Trapper of Garfield. She explains in detail what it is that she does routinely to help cull the feral feline population of the town:
It’s a proven fact that high intensity TNR boasts incredible results. And there’s no question that Bonnie is incredible, her efforts much applauded. But she is only one person. And she herself can only do so much. Countless residents of Garfield have argued and pleaded their concerns. The former Mayor has reminded many of them that the cats are not the only animals to place blame upon:
“I do understand people might not want them [the cats] defecating on their property,” Raymond said. “There are other animals around, too, though. There are raccoons and skunks. It’s not only cats.”
Now that this is a public health risk, what can be done? Residents spoke out to the local news to discuss their plans:
The State of New Jersey Department of Health addresses the issue of free-roaming and feral cats on their website.
Here is what they offer as their “solution” to this feral feline issue in the city of Garfield:
Free-roaming cats also pose a low but important threat to human health. Zoonotic diseases (diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people). [These] include rabies, toxoplasmosis, ringworm, cat scratch disease and many other diseases. Human injuries (bites and scratches) often occur if feral cats are handled without proper precautions.
The solution to the free-roaming and feral feline cat situation is multifaceted and includes:
- Public education to prevent abandonment of cats and to encourage responsible pet ownership, spaying and neutering, keeping cats indoors, and preventing or solving behavior problems leading to abandonment,
- Effective municipal animal control,
- Implementation and enforcement of municipal cat licensing ordinances with mandatory rabies vaccination,
- Establishing requirements for managed cat colonies in appropriate areas (see below), and
- Prohibiting the feeding and abandonment of free-roaming cats outside of managed cat colonies.
It’s proven that spaying and neutering your pets is the #1 way to help lower the feral and stray cat population. Because many of these cats were descendants of cats that once had loving homes.
So the residents of the city of Garfield are eager for their government to step in. On the other hand, they are willing to try anything short of hurting the animals.
Above all, we wish good luck and peaceful trappings to ALL the residents of Garfield!
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP; FOSTERING SAVES LIVES & SPAY AND NEUTER!
Related Story: Cat Man in Baltimore Trying To Avoid Eviction Of The Feral Cat Colony He’s Been Taking Care Of For 18 YearsRelated Story: Importance Differences Between Stray And Feral Cats–And How You Can Help!