Documentary Video & Photography

Why activists are fighting over feral felines

I reported, produced, shot and edited this story for the PBS Newshour about a long-running controversy between animal rights activists and conservationists over how to manage an estimated 80 million stray and feral cats roaming communities across the United States.Conservationists say the cats are invasive predators that are decimating native wildlife, and they want the cats removed. Animal rights’ activists argue that rounding up the cats and killing them is inhumane. They want to reduce the population over time by neutering the cats and returning them outdoors.

This conflict has been simmering for years, but it’s reached a boiling point in Antioch, California, a city in the Sacramento River delta that is home to many bird species and a large feral cat population. I filmed activists on both sides of this issue over nearly three years, and used a combination of motion sensor cameras and specially made cat cameras to film the feral cats and their interactions with wildlife. The result is an observational documentary that I expect to finish by late 2016. But in the meantime, I cut this version for the Newshour. It was broadcast in January 2016.