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/