How to deal with free-roaming cats
The Problem: According to a study publisher in Biological Conservation, On average a cat depredated between 0.7 and 1.4 birds per week (see the link for reference and further info). In addition, free-roaming cats can spread diseases to humans, including one that specifically effects unborn children.
" problem arises when woman becomes infected during pregnancy. In these cases one half to one third of the infants produced by these pregnancies become infected while still within the womb. Other sources give the figure at 40%. We call this congenital infection. It is particularly severe if it occurs during the first third of the pregnancy (the first trimester). Although transplacental infections occur in these fetuses, few of these women show signs of disease they simply sero-convert and trap the organisms within their muscles. Children born in these circumstances may be sick at birth or disease symptoms may occur weeks to years later. Signs of the disease in these children include mental retardation, eye and nervous system disease, deafness, lung disease, fever, jaundice and rash. Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy can also result in miscarriage." from http://www.2ndchance.info/toxoplasmosis.htm
How to deal with the problem?
1) Call your state or local humane society. The animal is being abused if it is left outside without access to food or water.
2) Contact animal control. Most cities have a leash law which appies to both cats and dogs.
3) Trap the animal and take it to a shelter. Hav-A-Hart type live traps work very well. I bait them with some Jack Mackarel from a can poured onto some newspaper and it works like a charm. The traps should be used in the evening or mornings since heat during the day could stress or kill an animal. You may occasionally catch something other than a cat. Just leave the door open and it will soon leave on its own.
4) If the person is renting call the landlord. I've done this several times and the landlord almost always evicts the cat or makes the owner keep it inside. Many times the person wasn't supposed to have the cat in the first place. If it's an apartment be sure to describe the apartment in detail (what's on the porch, in the window, etc) or get the apartment number so the landlord doesn't go to the wrong address (yes, this happened).
5) Print out information regarding life expentancy of indoor vs. outdoor cats and tape it to their door with a note that you will call animal control unless the situation is remedied.
While it is not our fault that cats are allowed to roam, endangering their own lives, the lives of unborn babies, and the lives of wildlife, if we don't do something about it, then who will?