Helping Feral Cats- Trap-Neuter-Release Programs
We heard from the news how the increasing population of feral cats is affecting some people’s livelihood. They associate that an increase in free-roaming cats number causes an imbalance in the ecosystem and most people who are affected are the ones working on a farm. Even if it is a happy feeling to see cats around, it is good to control the feral cats population. Today, we will discuss how we can help decrease feral cats numbers and take care of the existing cats.
What Is A Feral Cat?
Feral cats are wild and they do not want to be touched by humans. Usually, these cats have lived their entire lives outdoors, with little human contact. The term “stray cat” is reserved for cats that have either been abandoned by an owner or wandered from home. “Feral Cat and Stray cat as a label” are not interchangeable.
Can Feral Cats Be Tamed?
Adult feral cats do better if they live out their lives outdoors, in their established territories. Many of these cats have lived most of their lives in their territories and moving them is not usually successful. The feral cats will only try to return to their former home when you try to move them. The bond between individual cats is intense and moving one wildcat causes depression and loneliness for the rest of the feral in the group. The kittens (under 8 – 10 weeks) can be tamed and adopted to suitable homes. The adult feral cats may bond to one or two caretakers but are usually not adoptable.
What Is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)?
TNR is a program that humanely traps, sterilizes, then releases cats back into their original territory. The cats are checked if they had Feline leukemia and feline AIDS and given a rabies vaccination before they are released. The left ear is tipped, so the neutered cats are quickly recognized. Volunteers commit to caring for cat colonies by providing food, water, and shelter. The goal of the TNR program is to reduce the feral cat population while keeping the existing feral cats healthy.
More Facts About Feral Cats And TNR:
• Removing these cats does not work. New cats move into the area, and a new colony is quickly established.
• With TNR, breeding stops and populations are reduced.
• Bad behaviors like yowling, spraying, and fighting is diminished after the cats are spayed or neutered.
• The cats are kept healthy with food, water, and veterinary care is provided by volunteers.
• The cats that are taken to shelters are seen as un-adoptable.
• Feral cats have adapted to living outdoors. They are not miserable, and most feral cats are healthy.
• TNR programs are endorsed by the The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and the Cat Fanciers’ Association.
How To Help:
If you have the passion for helping animals especially the feral cats, you may check on Alley Cat Allies or Alley Cat Advocates as they provide information about starting TNR programs. Local veterinarians can also put you in contact with rescuers that are already in the process of working with feral cats, and these group of rescuers are always looking for new volunteers and much-needed donations. However, If you do not know any local veterinarian, you may also check social media platforms like Facebook where you can search for a cat rescue TNR Programs/Groups that are available in your area and when you decide to take part, you can join these groups and provide your time as a volunteer, or you can donate cash, food or anything that will help.
With the help of everyone, the people who are passionate about helping control Feral cats population by doing some TNR programs and the cat organizations who advocate TNR programs, the number of the feral cats will decrease. Even if we know that feral cats are best off in the wild, it is somehow heartbreaking that these cats do not have the chance of experiencing the love from a human. I should say that it is best to control their population in general and help the ones who are living to become healthy even if we have very limited chance to care for them.