The Feral Cats of Coronado Avenue in Ocean Beach

by on June 19, 2017 · 7 comments

in Ocean Beach

Resource List for Help Dealing with Feral and Stray Cats

By South OB Girl

It was two  years ago, that I first heard about the feral cat situation or cat hoarding or wild animal infestation in the 4500 block of Coronado Avenue in OB.

Unfortunately it sounds like the issue reared its ugly head again. Which is what happens if food is left out and stray cats are not spayed or neutered. The population of feral -stray cats recently reached a reported number of approximately 50.

Two years ago residents near Coronado and Santa Cruz Avenues, west of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard spoke of an enormous number of cats and a disgusting odor from a residence where the “cat lady” lived that could be smelled even a whole block away.

It was a smell of accumulated urine and feces (and maybe dead animals). And it was generated by the enormous number of cats attracted by bowls of food left out for the animals and the open yard to which they were welcomed by the property owner.

It wasn’t just cats — skunks, rats, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and other wild animals drifted through too (coyotes not far behind when it’s a feast like this). And footnote here, it is illegal to feed wild animals even inadvertently.

The efforts of local citizens has been a massive response. And the efforts are recurring — since at least that first round of cleaning the cat situation up 2 years ago. Pleas to Animal Control and the Feral Cat Coalition. Phone calls, emails, and photos. East County Rescue providing assistance. Feral cat live rescue traps. Some locals have had some of the cats spayed and neutered, taking them to vets themselves and and paying for it themselves.

And then there were reports of dead kittens and dead cats laying in the yard of the offending residence.

After all the efforts, many neighborhood citizens feel hopeless.

One message that OBceans involved with the issue would like to spread is:

“Please do not feed stray cats.”

Every bowl of food left out for a stray or feral cat is a bowl of food for rats, skunks, raccoons, and wild animals too.

Additionally:

“Please spay and neuter. Adopt rescues. And donate to animal rescue organizations if you can.”

Animal rescue organizations are non-profit and volunteer based. They need your volunteer help and your donations.

The latest update on the Coronado Avenue issue is that this particular “cat lady” did accept an offer of help. Neighbors really hope she will follow through with her acceptance.

The area is in the schedule for East County Animal Rescue to come out and trap, neuter, and return (referred to as T-N-R). They ARE coming but we need to be patient. These situations take time to resolve.

The plan is to trap all the cats, spay or neuter them all, adopt out the adoptables, and bring those in good health back to Coronado Avenue.

There is also the Wild at Heart program provided by the San Diego Humane Society which matches outdoor cats with adopters who have a barn, shed, warehouse, or other suitable structures as a safe home. And that program may be helpful in this situation.

Animal Control is not the contact for addressing a feral cat issue. They do get involved when there is suspected neglect, abuse, or sanitation issues. Dead cats apparently fall into this category and Animal Control has been involved in the Coronado Avenue situation.

The details have not yet been worked out. East County Rescue has to arrange to get several of their volunteers to come at the same time. And they need to ensure they have the space to place the cats and volunteer vets to spay/neuter. It’s a big project.

Finding homes for ferals is also a different path than finding homes for strays. The difference between stray and feral is basically pet and stray cats are socialized to people. Feral cats are not socialized to people. While they are socialized to their colony members and bonded to each other, they do not have that same relationship with people. And that makes a difference in how they are treated when rescued and cared for.

If we get this particular residence on Coronado Avenue cleaned up and possibly get the resident to stop irresponsible feeding, many OBceans would be very happy. But there are other individuals out there doing the same thing. It is rumored — a lady on the corner of Froude and Santa Cruz, another in the 4500 block of Santa Cruz, another on Saratoga. Unfortunately some men and some women throughout our community (not just on Coronado Ave.) are irresponsibly feeding and gathering the strays.

So, please, if you know other “feeders” around our neighborhoods, please try to reach out to them and inform them of what can happen if you irresponsibly feed and don’t spay and neuter the strays .

Part of the solution is not to simply stop feeding, but to try to educate those who feed the strays — to do so responsibly. And that means:

  1. Monitoring so that only the cats you want to feed are getting the food.
  2. Do not leave food out all night.
  3. If you feed — please spay and neuter.

Additionally, responsible stray feeding involves not only monitoring with no feeding at night, and spaying/neutering — but also the continued care and health of the colony that is now your responsibility. You should consider yourself the owner.

In the TNR program once the cats are returned you are considered the dedicated colony manager and as such are responsible for the health of all the cats you feed.

And an additional note — people can help keep the population of strays and ferals down by not abandoning their pets! Sounds obvious — but unfortunately this happens.

A few resources (please let us know in the comments section below if you have others):

SD County Animal Services and here.

619-767-2605

East County Animal Rescue

Email: info@eastcountyanimalrescue.org

Feral Cat Coalition

Online request: http://www.feralcat.com/contact-us.html

For information about low cost spay/neuter services:

Animal Welfare Foundation

(619) 702-4400

CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife

Wild at Heart Adoption Program (SD Humane Society)

Alley Cat Allies

Attending to feral and stray cat situations throughout our community should be a priority along with all of the efforts to keep our beach town looking nice and beautiful. It seems innocent at first — but the seemingly innocent feeding of a stray cat can easily become out of control and not just unsightly, but unhealthy, for the community.

I’d like the comments section below to be a place for people to express their opinions and concerns. Also to provide contacts for additional individuals/organizations/agencies that provide assistance. And also as a place to post a comment thanking a neighbor who you know has been helpful in trying to address the feral cat situation.

 

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Audrey S. June 19, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Feral cats come from people letting their unaltered pets outside who reproduce and have multiple litters. Their offspring will create thousands more. Community members can rent humane traps from Feral Cat Coalition and bring cats in for FREE spay and neuter. The cats will receive a very small ear tip to indicate spay/neuter so other trappers can avoid retrapping. If you have stray or feral cats outside, please step up and help! Visit feralcat.com for more information or call 855-FCC-CATS to rent traps and get a reservation.
Situations like these are all over San Diego. It’s up to the community to help the situation.

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Avatar Ian Mason June 19, 2017 at 12:52 pm

2 extreme cat ladies on the 4500 block feeding cats and wildlife.

Please help our block and STOP the madness!

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Avatar Beth June 19, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Thank you South OB Girl for bringing attention to this exploding community-wide problem! Well done.

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Avatar Audrey S. June 19, 2017 at 9:57 pm

Be part of the solution Ian. Help spay and neuter the cats with the free resources provided by FCC! It is up to the community to make it happen.

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Avatar partygail June 21, 2017 at 8:41 am

Thank you for addressing this problem. I believe what is needed is a trap, neuter and relocate program. If neighbors dislike the health issues, feces deposits and odor associated with colonies of cats, it is unlikely they would want to become an owner and manager of a herd of cats. Has anyone found information that results in removal of the cats? I live across the street from a feeder/hoarder and would appreciate more information.

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Avatar Audrey S. June 21, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Partygail the woman is actually very grateful and coorerative and Easy County Animal Rescue is in the process of helping her TNR. They started helping before this article was published.

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