Friday, October 3, 2014

Stray Cats in the 'Hood Driving You Crazy? TNR 'em!


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!
Feral cats can quickly breed, becoming a large colony, and a nuisance in the neighborhood.  People used to round them up and drop them at the nearest shelter where they would be euthanized, because they are considered "unadoptable".  It's very difficult to convert a feral cat into a domesticated pet.   It has been discovered over the years that if you remove feral cats from an area, other feral cats will move right in to take their place!  Therefore, removing feral cats isn't a good solution. 

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!
My sister recently discovered that a beautiful cat started hanging out on her front porch.  Being the animal lover she is, my sister started feeding the cat, whom she named Cashmere.  Cashmere found a male companion and quickly ended up having 4 kittens in my sister's yard.  Now they had a dilemma, they didn't want the cats to start multiplying.  She worked with a local animal welfare agency to help her trap and neuter each of the cats, and then let them return to living in the yard.  It wasn't easy to get all 6 of the cats, it took most of the Summer, but she did it!  I'm really proud of my sister for chosing to do the responsible thing by TNR-ing Cashmere, her boyfriend, and their 4 beautiful kittens!


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!
My sister and her husband love their feral kitties!  They recently bought an outdoor cat house from Amazon.com so they can get warm on the front porch over the Winter.  The cats have investigated the new cat house but haven't yet gone inside it.  Little Jake is the only one that comes close to the family, but they're hoping all the kittens may get to a point where they can be pet someday.  Until then, they will all have a home on my sister's front porch!

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?

3 comments:

  1. I have 2 regulars that come to my house. I have been feeding them for about a year now. My shelter won't take them as they are jam packed, and we have no T and R program here :(
    So I am doing the best I can by keeping them fed, and I also have a little house for them in the winter.
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no! I can't believe there's no TNR program where you are. Maybe call a few local vets or cat rescues & ask if there are any free or low cost vets that can spay/neuter them for you? Otherwise they'll probably breed like crazy - if they haven't already. It's great that you are feeding them & providing shelter from the cold! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  2. I think TNR is a wonderful solution to what could be a problem of too many kitties.

    ReplyDelete