Today is National Feral Cat Day, a perfect day to spread awareness of feral cats, their plight, and how humans can learn to cope with cat populations without causing harm. Trap-Neuter-Return programs are changing the future of animal welfare with these programs. With TNR programs, and the help of dedicated activists, feral cats can lead long and healthy lives. Here are some things you may not realize about feral cat populations…
1. Feral cats are different from stray cats. They’re usually distrustful and typically wary of humans. They rely on their instinct and are basically wild animals. They’re not unhappy to be outdoors. Feral cats are not socialized animals, and rarely gravitate towards relationships with people.
2. Feral cats are highly adaptive and tend to thrive in many climates and environments. You’re just as likely to see a feral cat population in the alleys of the inner city as the outskirts of a rural farm. Feral cats can live long, happy, and healthy lives, even without a caregiver to keep watch over them.
3. Feral kittens can often be re-homed if socialized to humans when they’re young. A lot of great shelter kittens have come from feral colonies. I adopted a feral cat myself when she wandered lost and scared into my backyard. It took 3 weeks for her to let me pet her, but she’s quite happy as an indoor kitty.
4. Feral cats are happier living feral lives than ending up in an animal shelter. 70% of cats that end up in animal shelters are destroyed (killed, put to sleep…) Feral cats are most likely to be killed in animal shelters, because often they are unsuitable for adoption. It’s very rare for a feral cat to find a “furrever home.”
5. TNR, aka Trap-Neuter-Return, improves the lives of the feral cat population. Cats are humanely trapped and taken to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, then returned to their outdoor homes to live out the remainder of their lives. TNR offers a new approach to animal welfare; unlike the failed, costly, and cruel catch and kill approach, Trap-Neuter-Return is effective. TNR programs help stabilize the feral cat population. Vaccinations prevent the spread of infectious disease. Neuter (i.e. “fixing”) prevents cats from presenting aggressive mating behaviors and prevents excessive breeding.
Trap-Neuter-Return is practiced in communities all across the U.S. and endorsed by national animal protection organizations.
Learn more about TNR Programs here.
- Help local cats on National Feral Cat Day; Germany working on ideas to prevent road kill (gorgeanimals.wordpress.com)
- New Smyrna considers feral-cat program (news-journalonline.com)
- Good Reasons All Cities Need a Feral Cat Sanctuary (cats.answers.com)