What is a feral cat?

  • Feral cats are the ‘wild’ offspring of domestic cats and are primarily the result of pet owners’ abandoning or not spaying/neutering their cats.
  • Feral cats are generally elusive and do not trust humans; however, there can be a wide range of behavior in a feral cat colony.
  • Sometimes tame cats or “friendlies” will join a feral colony in a desperate attempt for survival.
  • Feral cat ‘colonies’ can be found behind shopping areas or businesses, in alleys, parks, abandoned buildings, and rural areas.

How can feral cats be controlled effectively?

  • Feral cat colonies can be decimated with disease and starvation, so it is important to control their populations.
  • Euthanizing feral cats has not proven to be an effective population control measure.
  • A non-lethal method called TNR (Trap, Neuter and Release) has been shown to reduce feral cat populations dramatically over time.

How can you help?

  • Volunteer with IAR’s Feral Cat Team!
  • All types of volunteer activities are needed:
    • Trapping cats for TNR
    • Transporting cats to and from spay/neuter surgeries
    • Feeding cats and maintaining colonies
    • Educating people about TNR
    • Coordinating cat food drives to feed the colonies

How do feral cats survive?

  • Scavenging for food from dumpsters, backyards or trash cans.
  • Main food source is garbage.
  • Also eat insects or rodents.
  • Usually in urban areas—not generally a thread to birds.

Managing a colony

  • Start with a daily feeding and watering program.
  • TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release)
  • Young kittens are considered tameable.
  • Removing tamable kittens or tame abandoned pets that have joined the colony, vetting, and placing them for adoption.

Relocating a colony

  • Hazards such as construction or poison may necessitate relocating.
  • Suitable sites may include outdoor homes, farms, barns, stables.
  • Cats must be crated and slowly acclimated to the new location.

Protecting a colony

  • Never tell or show anyone (except helpers) the exact location of the colony.
  • Be as discreet as possible when feeding.
  • Don’t attract attention.
  • Feed after hours or at night.
  • Hide the feeding dishes out of plain site.

For further information

Alley Cat Allies at http://www.alleycat.org/