2018-09-12 / Front Page

Feral cats

A feral cat is a domestic cat that has returned to the wild, or the descendants of such an animal. It is distinguished from a stray cat, which is a pet cat that has been lost or abandoned, while feral cats have never been socialized. The offspring of a stray cat can be considered feral if born in the wild.

While some feral cats tolerate different degrees of human contact, most are too fearful and wild to be handled. However, they can live long and healthy lives outdoors with the support from dedicated caregivers who provide spay/neuter services, food/ water, and shelter. I have two feral cats living in my barn. One tolerates me, the other runs on sight. They have been trapped, spayed and neutered. They have been living here for nineteen years.

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) involves volunteers trapping feral cats, sterilizing them through spaying or neutering, and then returning them to the place where they were trapped.

Various longterm studies have shown TNR is effective in stopping reproduction and reducing the population over time. Individuals and animal rescue groups employ TNR since it is an effective, humane and non-lethal feral cat population control method. The effectiveness of TNR has been proven by multiple scientific studies conducted in multiple countries. In North Carolina, researchers studied six colonies that had been TNRd. Two years after the cats were TNRd, the colony size had been reduced by 36 percent.

The University of Central Florida conducted an 11 yearlong research study to track the effects of TNR and colony management on a group of 155 feral cats living on campus. At the end of their 11-year observation period, only 23 cats remained. The feral cat population had been reduced by 85 percent.

And the same results with studies in other countries.

A good website to visit is: www.saveacat.org and mercyforanimals.org.

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