Cats howling in the middle of the night, fighting, marking in your yard, breeding litter after litter? If this sounds like your neighborhood, you probably have a feral cat colony. These are groups of unsocialized stray cats that live and breed among themselves, forming colonies. They typically prefer not to interact with humans, even when those humans leave food, toys or treats out for them. They are skittish around people and don't consider humans to be potential companions.
|A feral kitten at my sister's house. She named him Jake, but later found out Jake was a girl!|
The best way to control a feral cat colony is to Trap, Neuter, & Return (TNR) feral cats one by one. Feral cats are trapped, usually by residents in the neighborhood, by leaving food in an animal cage trap. Then they are brought to a shelter or participating TNR Veterinarian to be spayed/neutered, and then returned to the area where they were living. This helps prevent the colony from growing out of control. It also curtails unwanted behavior such as fighting and marking their territory. Kittens need to be about 2 pounds in weight before they can be spayed/neutered, which is approximately 12 weeks of age. Most TNR programs will refer you to a shelter or Vet who will spay/neuter feral cats at no cost to you, however some programs offer a low cost spay/neuter program instead.
|Little Jake sitting right at my sister's front door like he owns the place!|
|Jake actually got to the point where she seems to want to come into the house! We hope she will eventually come inside, because everyone loves this sweet little kitty!|
Check out the web site Alleycat.org. They provide lots of news and information about feral cats, and how to make life with feral kitties easier and more pleasurable!
Have you had any experiences with feral cats in your neighborhood? What did you do about it?