The Bermuda Feline Assistance Bureau (BFAB) a Registered Charity established in 1992.  Its original Mission was to humanely control and manage Bermuda's feral cat population through education and a trap - spay-neuter return programme with the aim of reducing the overall number of feral cats on the Island

 

The primary focus now is to campaign for legislation for the mandatory spaying/neutering of all cats not needed for breeding purposes. Broken down, our mission/plan has several objectives, but the primary one is:  To secure legislative changes which ensure responsible ownership and care of domestic and non-domestic cats i.e. mandatory spaying and neutering of all cats, except those intended for legal breeding purposes (They did it with the dogs in the 60's and have just improved the dog legislation again- so why not the cats because the problem is not going to go away). BFAB collaborates with other local and international animal organizations with similar aims. Bermuda likely represents one of the most successful humane systematic undertakings of Trap/Neuter/Return ever achieved in any domicile.

            We seek to educate the residents of Bermuda on the importance of spaying and neutering their pet cats, and we now advise on issues concerning mainly owned cats in the community. We help people find lost pets. More than once, a disorientated or injured domestic cat has shown up at one of our feeding stations, and been reunited with its owner.

We intervene on cruelty cases - which are way down, now that there are fewer cats. Remember that those individuals who have violent behaviour often start with animals and move on to humans - so helping a cat who has been abused by stopping the cycle, can theoretically prevent child and other abuse. So you see we have evolved into a community cat organization.   We rescue and place suitable cats and kittens for adoption with the SPCA, who are also campaigning for legislation for mandatory spaying and neutering of cats.

            WHY Did we start BFAB?" - they say you should have three good reasons to do anything:  Because no one else was doing anything about a growing population of uncared for cats estimated in 1990 at between five and ten thousand; cruelty cases were up.  Because some pet owners have consistently failed to be responsible - note this is a social human issue not a cat problem.  Because of the rate at which cats breed.  The female typically has three litters of 3 - 5 per annum - 15 kittens per annum- and she can get pregnant at only five months of age! But the male - he can go walkabout 5 miles or so, visit six ladies in an evening, and so father 18 kittens per night!

            The supply of uncared for cats comes entirely from domestic stock - people who fail to spay/neuter their pets and so allow unwanted kittens, or abandon their pet as they leave the island. Despite BFAB wanting to disband after a decade, we continue to exist solely because new problems of unwanted cats and kittens are still being routinely created.  You may ask - why don't we just put them down? Well, they used to, but there were three problems with this:  It isn't ethical, and the community would not accept it. It isn't the cat's fault that a human was irresponsible.  It didn't solve the problem. As long as there is a food source, you can remove cats, but other breeding cats move into the area, and the same problem repeats itself over and over.   A tame cat acts just like a wild cat in a trap, so any culling program is, and has in the past, put down peoples' pets.            Can't we just take the cats away from a site - put them somewhere else? Well, that doesn't work because:  New fertile cats will move into the area, It is musical chairs to displace cats, they'll probably get run over trying to get back home.

            ACHIEVEMENTS- BFAB has fixed some 16,000 (sixteen thousand) cats - about 1,000 a year for sixteen years - that has resulted in about 50,000 less (unwanted) kittens being born.  Cats fixed by BFAB have a notch in the left ear or the tip removed during their surgery so that if ever in a trap again, or seen on site, we can immediately confirm that they do not need another trip to the vet. It helps if people calling BFAB can look to see if the cat they are calling about has the tip of the left ear missing/or an ear notch.  In addition to spaying and neutering, we do a lot of medical treating, solving of illnesses, injuries, broken limbs, skin problems - while the cat is being fixed

             What you can do to help? - Give money and make sure everyone you know who has a cat gets it fixed (Contact 291-1737 or  www.bfab.bm ). Have a discussion with your Parliamentary representative about the need for legislation to fix all pet cats.

             I will finish with a well known quote from Mahatma Gandhi - "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.'