Experts: Riga's feline problem requires euthanizing kittens

Take note – story published 8 years ago

Below and by apartment buildings in Riga, myriads of feral cats are leading a somewhat felicitous life, and litters are common during the warm months. There are ongoing efforts to control the cats' population, but, according to veterinarians and animal rights activists, feral kittens should be not only sterilized but also put to sleep, reported a story on Latvian Radio Wednesday.

Efforts by the Riga Municipality and non-governmental organizations to control the population by sterilizing the cats have been limited, and of an estimated 200,000 stray and feral cats only about 6,000 are sterilized each year.

A number of animal shelters have been expressly built for housing cats, like the Labās mājas shelter in Jugla. It was built three years ago and designed to hold 40 cats, while as of now 110 live in the crowded shelter. However, shelters like these are but a drop in the ocean as it is obvious that not every kitten can be adopted, and space is limited.

The Housing and Environment Committee spays or neuters 1,000 to 2,000 cats a year, told Askolds Kļaviņš, the head of the committee. "The city allots 40,000 euros for the cause. The money for this year has run out, and we have to wait for the next year," said Kļaviņš.

Other cats are sterilized by non-governmental organizations and individuals who want to control the cat population by their apartments. Laura Karnīte from the Dzīvnieku draugs shelter estimated that about 200,000 feral and stray cats currently live in Riga.

About 70% of the feral cats should be sterilized in order to achieve significant results. 

Lita Konopore from the Latvian Veterinarians' Association said that the program should be systematic and incorporate euthanizing kittens that cannot be neutered or spayed, while Astrīda Kārkliņa from the Jugla Animal protection group criticized the program for being uncoordinated as the efforts are sporadic.

A quick internet search reveals that, besides being a nuisance and a danger to pets, feral cats are also the source of flea infestations and an image problem as injured and dying cats can cause vicarious suffering.

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles


Most important