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June 2020

Bill Sherrod, Editor

SWEET VIRGINIA BARN CATS

I appreciated the environmental focus of the March-April Cooperative Living. However, I am disturbed that the CoverFocus article, on page 10, condoned the efforts of the Sweet Virginia Barn Cats organization to sustain outdoor feral cat colonies. Letting cats roam outdoors is bad for the environment, wildlife, humans and the cats themselves. Outdoor cats, including those that are neutered and fed, kill an estimated 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals annually, according to information published by the American Bird Conservancy. Even when cats do not directly kill wildlife, their presence in the environment leads to indirect mortality, such as reduced feeding of young birds.

I worked as a wildlife biologist on national wildlife refuges in Virginia and California, where ground-nesting bird species were brought to the brink of extinction due to predation by freeroaming domestic and feral cats. Public health scientists and agencies and many veterinarians rally against trap, neuter and release programs. Managed cat colonies harbor and transmit disease, including rabies and toxoplasmosis, which can cause blindness and miscarriage in humans. I like cats, and my beloved indoor cat lived to be 20 years old. While Sweet Virginia Barn Cats’ work may be well-meaning — and I applaud their adoption efforts — I wish they would keep the rescued cats indoors or confined to an outdoor area where they can’t harm wildlife, or be harmed themselves. The heartbreaking shooting, which left Jack the cat maimed, could have been avoided.

— Joelle Buffa, Greenbackville, Va.

MOVING COLUMN

I just wanted to thank your executive editor [Richard G. Johnstone Jr.] for the article titled “Every Storm … Runs Out of Rain” in the May issue. This is a well-written article and the perfect message for this moment of crisis. I just shared it with a co-worker who needs a little bit of encouragement. I am positive that our nation will flourish and our people will experience great success after this “Storm … Runs Out of Rain.”

 

Millie DiPatrizio, Sterling, Va.

Correction: In the May Cooperative Living, a photo in Crossroads misidentified Alan Hynson as the Rev. Denny Maupin. The identification is correct on co-opliving.com