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LETTERS for the June 28 issue

By Staff | Jun 28, 2018

Killing colony cats makes the problem worse

When I moved here in 2006, the streets of Lahaina were flooded with sick, dead and dying cats and kittens. I love Maui so much and know that we can do better for both dogs and cats. As an out-of-pocket volunteer, I have sacrificed everything and made it my sole mission to try and help solve this problem using effective solutions implemented by thousands of cities worldwide.

As many have witnessed, things have improved greatly over the past decade, but there’s still a ways to go. Some people are frustrated by the number of cats roaming free, but many don’t realize that a fixed, fed and healthy group of cats forms a team (known as a colony). This “cat team” works together to eliminate pests and helps prevent more cats from entering their area.

It’s true! Cats are territorial. If they’re fixed and fed, then they have a place to protect, and in turn, they help keep out more cats. Colony cats would rather see birds eat their leftovers than allow a new cat to enter their territory. Often times the fights you might hear are colony cats pushing out new intruders. Because of the great results, many of the major hotels throughout Maui have supported cat colonies on their properties for years.

Most fixed cats can easily be identified by looking at their ears. If one of the ear tips has a “V” shape cut out, or the tip is missing, it’s been sterilized and can no longer have babies. In some cases, however, a fixed cat’s ear may be fully intact.

Sadly, some residents still abuse, relocate and kill colony cats. They deliberately run them down with cars, shoot them, injure them and even trap them and drop them off at another location. While some think this is helping, it actually makes matters much worse. Many places around the world, including Hawaii, have spent years and millions of dollars trying to eradicate feral cats and their efforts have failed – miserably.

Cats are an apex predator and will survive forever in Hawaii. They can barely scrape by on natural resources and trash cans. When you eliminate colony cats, you weaken the team and allow more unfixed cats to enter the area, who can quickly breed out of control. According to Alley Cat Allies, a worldwide leader in cat management, this is a phenomenon known as “The Vacuum Effect,” and it has been proven worldwide.

A few weeks ago, at one of the colonies I manage, I found a leader cat shot in the face with a nail gun. He was one of the tougher cats that teamed up with his fixed colony mates to help keep out the hundreds of unfixed cats that want to come down from the hills. I was late feeding him one night, so he probably wandered into someone’s yard looking for scraps and was shot.

Last Friday, at the same area, the top of Kapunakea Street, teary-eyed neighbors and I were shocked to find six dead colony cats. They had all been poisoned! For over three years, this fixed, healthy colony had been working hard to help prevent hundreds more cats from entering Lahaina, and now they’re all dead.

Not only is this a tragedy for the locals who loved these cats (some were very friendly with people), this colony has now been completely weakened, which will open the area up to unfixed, unhealthy, dead and dying cats and kittens for many years to come.

Sadly, these types of horrific events happen often throughout the State of Hawaii. They create a perpetual cycle of frustration and despair, and push us farther away from a solution.

Please understand, we cannot kill, injure or relocate our way out of this. If you want real, long-lasting results, you and your neighbors must work together to help your block, your street, your town. Get those cats fixed. Feed and water them daily. In exchange, your “cat team” will work hard for you by eliminating pests and helping to keep the cat population down. It truly is the only effective solution.

Local colony caretaker Stacy Jaramillo pleaded, “Mike volunteers six hours every night and has sacrificed everything to help make Lahaina better for everyone. He needs our help more than ever right now to continue.”

For years, I have been using my own time and money to try and help solve this epidemic. I am now stretched beyond my limits. I desperately need trappers, feeders, fosters, food, publicity and donations. Please contact Mike Willinsky at mauicatmike@gmail.com. Even a couple of dollars or a few minutes a week will help.

Let’s work together! We can solve this crisis humanely and effectively. I look forward to hearing from you. Mahalo, Maui!



A reality check on Trump’s achievements

In the June 21 edition of the Lahaina News was a letter by a gentleman from Lanai. I believe he needs a little REALITY CHECK!!!

Quote: “Corporate tax cuts means companies spend money on growth. More jobs, higher wages… “

Indeed. Let me tell you how corporate tax cuts work. The president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric, Mr. Alan M. Oshima, made over $1,430,000 in 2016 in equity and cash compensation. Talk about higher wages. Yet HECO is asking for a raise for the price of electricity time and again, when we pay already about twice as much per kilowatt hour in Hawaii than the average cost in the rest of the U.S. I guess the increase is needed to up salaries, like to maybe $1.75 or $2 million a year?

And that’s just one small “big” corporation. Does this gentleman from Lanai believe everything politicians say? Too bad for him and us who have to live with politicians who “spin” – to use a euphemism – for a living.

I would like to know one thing: why does somebody spend over $80 MILLION to get a job that pays $400,000 a year plus another $169,000 in various allowances, such as travel, entertainment, etc.?

Ah yes… probably to cut taxes for big corporations. After the time in office, there just might be a place on the board of some 20 or more corporations for the person who gave them a break in the first place.