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Like many other big cities across continents Tehran too has more than its share of feral cats.
Like many other big cities across continents Tehran too has more than its share of feral cats.

Lingering Problem of Stray Cats

Lingering Problem of Stray Cats

Not very long ago Tehran was (still is) infested with rats and then came the stray dogs in visibly big numbers. Now it is the turn of stray cats. In addressing all three problems what is strangely, but not surprisingly, absent is the role and presence of the municipality and its bloated bureaucracy.
Like many other big cities across continents Tehran too has more than its share of feral cats.  The presence of cats in metropolises is not inherently a problem and could be considered beneficial as the small animals help keep the population of rodents, like rats, in check.
However, if the cat population is not controlled and monitored regularly, they could pose serious health risks to other animals and humans.  
Cats are the primary hosts of toxoplasmosis infection, one of the most common parasitic diseases, known to affect nearly all warm-blooded animals and humans. Pregnant women and those with weak immune systems are highly susceptible to this disease. In pregnant women, this parasite has been associated with fetal death and abortion.  
The best way for population control and monitoring of cats, seen often in developed countries, is the Trap-Neuter-Return approach. In this method, the stray cats are trapped, sterilized, if necessary checked for toxoplasmosis, and finally marked and released.
Despite repeated warnings from residents in Tehran, home to 12 million people, health and social experts, so far nothing has been done by the municipality regarding the growing cat population one sees in almost all neighborhoods across the capital.
The efficient way to deal with feral cats is not eradication, and certainly not mistreatment. If effectively controlled, the presence of stray cats in Tehran can  even benefit the municipality by helping in rodent control.

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