CCCP: Benefits and Challenges

An undesexed street cat on the left - A desexed CCCP street cat on the right.An undesexed street cat on the left - A desexed CCCP street cat on the right.

 MAIN BENEFITS OF CCCP, FOR CATS AND PEOPLE

Since the biggest complaints about street cats are related to mating behaviours i.e. yowling and fighting for mates and territory marking with pungent urine, the main benefits counter these and include many other advantages both for the cats themselves, the community and our urban environment:

  • Desexed cats vocalize, roam and spray less.
  • Desexed cats produce no kittens and therefore suffering, diseased and dying kittens on the street is a thing of the past.
  • A desexed cat colony stabilises and then decreases in size.
  • Desexed cats are healthier and vaccinated against rabies.
  • Sick street cats are removed from the colony, thus preventing disease and ensuring a healthy community.
  • With a reduction in numbers of cats and related mating behaviours, the urban environment improves, and complaints should also decrease.
  • Less cats are euthanised.
  • At the same time, desexed street cats continue to deter rats and other vermin.

In 1963, 40,000 cats were euthanased.
Today, approximately 5,000 cats are euthanased every year by the AFCD and the SPCA.

MAIN CHALLENGES TO THE CCCP PROGRAMME

  • Not desexing
  • Messy feeding
  • Owned Roaming cats
  • Abandonment of pet cats
  • Patience and Understanding
Without desexing: increased feeding = increased breeding

CCCP is not a cat feeding programme, it is a community driven cat DESEXING programme.

We do not encourage anyone to feed cats if they have no intention of desexing them. Feeding alone causes more problems within the community, not just for residents but for the cats in the area too. 

Without desexing, increasing the amount of food available to cats also increases breeding. With increased breeding, the amount of anti–social mating behaviours such as yowling and fighting also increases.

The goal of the CCCP programme is to stop breeding of cats in a colony area entirely, in the hope that there will be none or very few street cats in the future.

Irresponsible cat feeders may threaten existing CCCP colonies

Many people enjoy feeding street cats but do not clean up the leftover food after the cats have eaten. The leftover food attracts pests and causes hygiene problems in the area. The number of cats and cat related problems also increases.

Such behaviour means street cats may be less tolerated. Cat feeders may unknowingly threaten existing CCCP colonies as residents feel that the presence of cats, rather than the behavior of inconsiderate feeders, is the main problem. This makes the work of existing carers much more difficult as the rate of reproduction of cats is increased, meaning more cats need to be trapped and desexed.

Often, the government is called in to remove cats from the area. When this happens, the more socialised, desexed cats are often caught first, leaving behind a population of undesexed, hard to catch cats that will continue to reproduce.

Feeding animals in parks and other public facilities is against the law, under the Public Pleasure Grounds Ordinance, Cap 132B, offenders may be fined $2,000 and imprisoned up to 14 days. Outside of these specific areas, failure to clean up, anywhere, constitutes a littering offence under Hong Kong law and carries a penalty of $1,500.

In addition, the active catching and trapping of animals is also regulated under the Wild Animal Protection Ordinance, Cap 170 and Countries Park Ordinance Cap 208.

Owned cat, free to roam.Owned cat, free to roam.

Owners who let their undesexed cats roam freely

Some businesses keep their cats confined during business hours and release them at night to roam. These undesexed cats mate with street cats which increases the cat population in the area. They also cause nuisance and hygiene problems at night, unbeknownst to their owners who have already gone home.

Please be a responsible cat owner. Please desex your cat and ensure it has a collar with a nametag. Be very careful about letting your cat roam on the street. It greatly increases its chances of being hit by a car, or attacked by a dog.

Abandonment of pet cats by irresponsible owners

A constant challenge to the CCCP is the abandonment of pet cats. Sources of abandoned cats vary: unwanted kittens from undesexed pet cats, or owners who move and leave their pet cats behind.

This poses a challenge to both the community as well as CCCP carers, who find new cats in their colonies and have to work extra hard to trap and desex the feral street cats, while identifying and removing the pet cats for adoption.

WARNING: DO NOT ABANDON YOUR PET CAT ON THE STREET
Pet cats abandoned on the street often live very short, traumatic lives. They are used to living in a flat and having all their needs met by their owner. They do not have the survival skills of their feral cousins.

Abandoned pet cats are at increased risk of injury from traffic accidents and dog attacks. They are also unlikely to be immediately accepted into the complex hierarchy of a cat colony and are at risk of being bullied and attacked by their fellow felines.

Unlike pet dogs that need to be licensed and microchipped, there is currently no identification system for pet cats, making it hard to distinguish between abandoned pet cats, owned roaming cats and existing street cats. Currently, both CCCP cats and homing cats are microchipped for identification by the SPCA - if you find a cat with a chip please call our Animal Receiving Department on 2232 5553 who may be able to help.

Understanding that Trap-Neuter-Return requires patience and collaboration

Not everybody loves cats like this, but we hope the public will be patient.Not everybody loves cats like this, but we hope the public will be patient.

The problem of street cats is a social problem that is long standing. The CCCP tries to solve this problem in a humane way.

Community residents and leaders expect an immediate drop in the number of cats overnight. Often, residents expect the SPCA to remove all cats and put them up for adoption. This is not a viable solution - the majority of street cats will not adapt to life in a home easily, since many have spent their entire lives on the street. 

With the CCCP, there is a desexed, stable population that will slowly decrease. Committed CCCP carers in the community monitor and desex cats and quickly removing suitable cats for adoption. Overall cat euthanasia rates are rapidly and significantly decreasing.

Without the CCCP, the cat population increases and the nuisances persist. It also encourages more cat feeding as there will always be residents who will feel sorry for the large number of hungry cats. 

Community collaboration and mutual understanding are essential to address the challenges above are the key to success.