To the editor:

Concerning TNR andamp; the Feral Cat Puzzle, in a recent letter to the editor, Suzanne Fouty wrote that andquot;The TNR project helped address a problem in a humane and respectful way.andquot; Feral cats, like most predators, are efficient killers. Even well fed cats can't control their instinct to kill when confronted with their natural small animal prey like that hummingbird whose return you had been patiently waiting for.

Each pet cat is estimated to kill about 32 small animals per year, and feral cats, which may number as many as 60 million in the U.S., are thought to kill far more than that. It is estimated that cats kill hundreds of millions of songbirds and over a billion other animals in the U. S. every year.

Is releasing fixed feral cats back into our neighborhoods respectful of and humane to the wild birds and other animals they will kill? Is it respectful of the humans who care about those birds and other animals? Neutered cats still spray down your shed, use your favorite area for a cat box, spread disease, do in your Easter chicks, and engage in the other offensive behaviors.

Is releasing a feral cat nuisance back into our neighborhoods respectful of the majority of the people who live there? Despite the letter's claims, the decision to spend taxpayer dollars on TNR was not a andquot;communityandquot; decision. There was little debate and the community was never fully informed or polled about TNR. The private donors are but a small fraction of the eligible voters in Baker City, and only in one's wildest imagination could they be considered to represent the entire community. Some other potential solutions:

n The City and county should contract for and help fund publicly available, inexpensive, spay-neuter and euthanasia services.

n Let citizens take care of their own feral cat problem by allowing those affected to deal with or bring in strays.

n Maintain an education program informing people about irresponsible breeding, keeping cats inside, and the low-cost spay-neuter/euthanasia alternatives.

n If necessary, the city should begin licensing cats, just as they do dogs, and include financial incentives for spay-neutering.

Christopher Christie

Baker City