Regarding the letters of Jan. 20 "Cats kill birds, ruin kids' sandboxes," and Jan. 25, "Roaming cats should be euthanized," the story of Dick Whittington and his cat is true, and when my grandmother emigrated from England in the late l890's, London still had cats' meat men who gathered scraps from the slaughter houses and placed them in various areas of the city to keep the cats fed and healthy so they might keep down the vermin (mostly rats and mice) that plagued the city. There is no longer such a post in London, but it was there for many years and with very good reason.
It is true that when careless people do not spay or neuter their cats, they can become a nuisance. Some cities provide free clinics occasionally to do this. Cats also need to have rabies shots.
It's easy to keep cats from coming around. An empty spray bottle filled with plain tap water is the best training aid in the world. You don't have to say a word, just aim and push. The cat will take off as fast as possible, and if this silent spritz of water hits two or three separate times, it will not come around any more.
It is difficult for a human nose to smell cat urine and feces that have been covered. If the air stinks around your open windows, it means an unaltered tom-cat is spraying there. It can also be a yew hedge, but most people know about that. Sand boxes must be covered when not in use.
Fly-through bird feeders are pretty good at keeping cats from killing birds. Although one of the funniest sights to me, was when my neighbor's cat managed to shinny up a pole and get into the fly-through, crouching there with a puzzled look that said better than words, "Where did they all go?" He never tried again.
Please think of your neighbors and their children and be kind. It really isn't necessary to kill everything that irritates you if a spritz of water will keep the pests away in a more economical manner.
Prudence L. Kuhn