Document type : Article published on theSavoir animal website
Author : Agnès Dufau
Preview: For the past fifteen years or so, the management of stray cat populations - known in France as "free" cats - has been a major challenge for Spanish public policy on animal protection.
Progress in the ethical management of cat colonies has been significant, and although some stumbling blocks remain, 2021 should be the year in which a TNR "Trap-Neuter-Release" programme (CER,"Capturar-Esterilizar-Retornar" in Spanish) will be formally adopted at national level.
Indeed, this will be the first national law for the protection of pets to be presented by the Directorate General for Animal Rights, created last February by the Spanish government.
The cat populations that have managed to survive thanks to the kindness of some and despite the cruelty of others are the consequence of irresponsible human actions. An annual study published by the Affinity Foundation paints a picture of the scale of the problem and of the role played by of animal protection organisations in the management of feral cat colonies.
In its latest report the Affinity Foundation has revealed that more than 123,000 cats were picked up by organisations and local authorities in 2019, a figure that continues to rise. Only 4% of rescued cats could be identified (as compared with 28% for dogs). It should be noted that cat identification regulations vary in the different independent communities of Spain, with no national requirement for a form of identification.
In fact, cats are becoming increasingly popular as pets in Spain, especially in urban areas. This popularity is not always matched by a responsible approach. This volatile mix of popularity and lack of responsibility, coupled with a real lack of knowledge about the nature of cats, leads to the latter's abandonment and consequent misery, which organisations are constantly working to remedy.