LETTER: Letter wrong on many counts

— To the editor:

Joel and Michelle Banyai’s letter regarding TNR [“TNR is not the best answer for Salina cat problem,” July 10] the included numerous inaccuracies.

The first argument — if TNR actually worked, the colony would not have grown from a mom with kittens to 32 — left unmentioned that the TNR process did not begin until the colony numbered 32. Feeding is part of that procedure. The number in the colony since TNR began has declined from 32 to seven, a decrease of about 75 percent. The intent of TNR is not to eradicate all cats, but to humanely decrease their numbers, and it worked exactly as it was supposed to in this case.

To be completely successful, a TNR program should be tackled as a community-wide project; however, Barb did what she could, fixing those coming into her yard. Ms. Banyai says there are more than seven in the area, insisting Barb’s feeding is “drawing them in,” yet there are only seven coming to Barb’s yard. Are some of the others neighbors’ pets? In any case, Barb dealt with her corner of the world appropriately.

Ms. Banyai, concerned for her barefoot children’s safety, states that, “Feral cats are the No. 2 carriers of rabies.” This is not supported by the evidence. The NYS Department of Health lists the top rabies vectors as bats, raccoons, and skunks. Cats do not even appear on the list.

Ms. Banyai’s other concern is Toxoplasmosis, which, she says, can cause blindness in children, a statement that is only partially correct. Congenital Toxoplasmosis, passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, can cause blindness. Children have been running barefoot for generations and would not be subject to this.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a Toxoplasma infection occurs “. . . . either by ingesting viable tissue cysts in raw or undercooked meat or by ingesting oocysts shed in the feces of a cat. After acute infection, T. gondii continues to exist in tissue cysts in humans, particularly in the muscles and brain. Tissue cysts are long-lived and not associated with disease.” Toxoplasmosis presents a danger primarily to the immuno-compromised and to pregnant women, not to healthy children.

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