"Hawaii’s Out-Of-Control, Totally Bizarre Fight Over Stray Cats"

"Stray cats harm wildlife. Should we kill them?"

"On a warm day last spring, dozens of protesters gathered outside a shopping center on the west side of Hawaii’s Big Island. They weren’t there to boycott a store or a pipeline or to deride a politician. They came to revolt against a new ban on feeding cats in the parking lot. “Stop starving the cats,” the protesters chanted, according to a local newspaper.

The lot outside Queens Marketplace, the shopping center, is home to one of the island’s many colonies of stray, or free-ranging, cats. While there are no formal estimates, experts guess that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of these colonies across Hawaii, each comprising anywhere from a few to more than a hundred felines. Hawaii is, to put it simply, teeming with cats.

These furry strays are descended from, or are themselves, abandoned pet cats, though they’re not really abandoned. Most of them have at least one “colony manager,” a term you’ll hear in Hawaii and elsewhere for locals who provide groups of free-ranging cats with food, water, and even medical care. Sometimes colony managers (or their friends) will also build feeding stations, like the one pictured below. These are self-described do-gooders, common across the Hawaiian islands, who feed cats that don’t live with them."

Benji Jones reports for Vox January 24, 2024.

Source: Vox, 01/26/2024