Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to the stray cat issue that is not only happening in Tamaqua, but in other towns as well. It is an issue that certainly needs to be addressed but getting to the root of the problem is the issue. Where do they come from? They come from humans who don't take care of them. And then when they don't want them they simply take them for a ride and drop them off in someone else's neighborhood. I grew up on West Ridge Street in Lansford and almost every animal we had growing up came from Dock Street in Lansford (the back road) which people still to this day use as a dumping ground for cats.

Actually we got dogs from there as well but it seems to be easier for people to dispose of cats. I had a mother who felt sorry for them all and therefore quite a few ended up in our home.

In my eyes the problem is not the cats it's the humans. I don't know what the answer is other than laws have to be made and enforced. People should be made accountable for not taking care of their animals or they should not have them in the first place. If you cannot afford to have your cat spayed or neutered, and you let your cat outside, then you should not have one no matter how cute they are unless you can find good homes for all of their offspring. An indoor cat that is not "fixed" will most likely mark its territory somewhere in your house. Marking their territory and keep their claws sharp and in good condition are natural acts for these animals and probably the reason whey some of them get tossed out. If you don't have them declawed you have to take the time to trim their nails which grow back very fast or buy them items on the market for maintaining their natural instinct to sharpen their claws.

Writing articles that make the cats look like the culprits is not the answer. For as much as I love cats I don't appreciate them using my yard as a bathroom either. In reference to a previous article not long ago in regard to why people don't walk their cats on a leash and cats killing and eating birds I need to respond. Did you ever try walking a cat on a leash? It requires a lot of patience and they really don't like it. People kill birds and other birds do as well. Last summer I watched from my kitchen window as a hawk came down and killed a sparrow. That's nature and you have to accept it. You don't want people to feed stray cats but you don't want the stray cats to eat birds. What do you want them to do?

Your local shelter may be able to help you out. Sometimes they can work with you to see if you can maybe take care of a kitten or older cat until they have room for it. They also rent out live traps and then return the money to you when you return the traps. There should be more state or county help for the shelters as they can only do so much. Hopefully a solution can be reached that benefits the people as well as the cats. Mating season is right around the corner so there will be more out there because of human carelessness. It's a tough situation to solve because you will always have people who just do not take care of their animals.

Cats can be your best friend if you take the time. Love your dogs too.

Am and always will be a cat lover.

Mary Soto,

Lansford