In cities, at least in Vancouver, spaying and neutering animals is often below the actual veterinary costs. I don't think the vets are subsidized by the city, but if they are, it is a win win situation. If the pets are sterilized, then there are not unwanted puppies and kittens requiring rescue and no homless pets by the thousands. Yes, there will always be rescues for unwanted dogs and cats and yes, people will forgoe veterinary services at any cost and not be responsible pet owners. But here, with the cost of spaying $350 and up for dogs and $350 and up for cats, with neutering costs falling right behind, it is highly unlikely that most people can even afford to spay and neuter all their animals, especially farmers.
I would like to say that the cats here were dropped off here. I have no real idea where the tom comes from to impregnate the females, but cats will come from far apparently, when the females are in heat and calling. This feral instinct is still strong in the felines. I traded some beautiful female cats for what I thought were male kittens, only to learn the next year that they were females. One of the two orange cats had kittens and I was able to rehome all 6 of them. Smokey, whom I do not ever see anymore, decided to go feral and she had a litter of kittens in the abandoned car in the bush. I only found one and rehomed it, but was aware of other kittens around. It appears that two of the others, possibly three, are still around. Certianly one is because tiny as she is, she has a litter of kittens under the farm store and so does the other orange cat.
I would give the cats all away if some one would take them and start again with only males, for sure only males this time. Cats are necessary on a farm, but not necessarily long lived. There is a fox den just down the ravine on the farm to the north of us and the young foxes come to the farm some times. They did get a baby goat and a guinea hen off a nest where she should not have been. The sly foxes come downwind and the dogs do not hear them at all. But, some how the cats seem to have evaded that entire den of foxes.
I counted 7 new kittens under the farm store, but I am not sure which mother has which kittens. The kittens are very wild and even as young as they are, they hiss and scratch and bite when I have tried to pick one up. That is odd, because the orange cat is not a feral cat. She is tame and friendly. The kittens will grow up and interbreed if they are not trapped and disposed of. Disposed of. That sounds absolutely heartless and cruel. It would rather the fox get them. But what choices are there with the cost of spaying a cat that might be dinner for a four legged creature the next day? Such a sad situation, this is, and I, not the only farmer in it. This whole area is rampant with unwanted cats and dogs because of the two fold problem of high veterinary costs and people who do not regard animals very highly. Sad. I do not want to fit in the same category and am really at wits end. Any suggestions that might be affordable and doable?