Supporters of feral cat colonies and legal protection for free-range cats constitute what I call the “Toxoplasmosis Lobby.” In my opinion, these individuals believe that a cat’s right to defecate on your property trumps your right to protect your property from this dangerous infection.
I find it interesting that in all the rancor about the status of free-range cats, no one has effectively used this argument against the Toxoplasmosis Lobby. It could be because the Toxoplasmosis Lobby have learned how to shout down opposition. I have experienced their “moral outrage” first hand. They are highly organized and can quickly fill your inbox or online bulletin with a litany of repetitive accusations ranging from “you are cruel” to “you are unscientific” to “you are Medieval”. Those with less time or a weaker spine actually become influenced by this nonsense so they back down in fear that the onslaught will continue.
But it is also possible that the public is not aware of research showing that toxoplasmosis is dangerous even at the subclinical level. Subclinical infections are those that don’t cause symptoms severe enough for people to be aware of. Like an alligator waiting for prey, subclinical infections lie just below the surface doing damage but not at a rate or severity that will trigger symptoms that would suggest there is a problem. At least, the symptoms don’t arise until it is too late.
If you don’t think toxoplasmosis is a problem, visit http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/03/how-your-cat-is-making-you-crazy/308873/. The findings there may frighten you.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest books are the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition and The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
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