Regarding Grant Sizemore’s April 2 Local Opinions essay, “Do not throw cats at the D.C. rat problem”:
The Blue Collar Cats program is designed to provide another option for feral cats, which cannot be adopted because they are not behaviorally suited to be pets. These cats are released through our Cat Neighborhood Partnership Program as directed under D.C. code. Mr. Sizemore said participating businesses are the owners of these cats. Feral cats live in our community with no owner. Participating businesses act as caregivers that provide food, water and shelter for the cats. The cats are free to roam, like any other feral cat, and are meant to deter rodents, not solve the city’s rodent problem. They are not pets, and the businesses do not pay for these cats.
Mr. Sizemore overstated the concern of Toxoplasma gondii infection. According to Deborah L. Ackerman of the University of California at Los Angeles, “Feral cats pose even less risk to public health than pet cats because they have minimal human contact.”
The Blue Collar Cats program makes no promise of these cats’ efficacy in deterring rodents. However, our partners report that the program is working, with results similar to those of programs elsewhere.
The Blue Collar Cats program is another option for cats who cannot be adopted and cannot live in a home. Through programs such as Blue Collar Cats, feral cats can live healthy, happy lives that may be beneficial to their human caregivers.
Lisa LaFontaine, Washington
The writer is president and chief executive
of the Humane Rescue Alliance.