How Can I Help Feral Cats?


How old is My Kitty?  What are Ferals?  Taming Feral Kittens

This article was written by fellow cat activist known only as "Stray Cat".

The U.S. currently has a population of about sixty to one-hundred million feral cats. The shelters and animal control facilities are killing approximately six million domestic cats each year. A feral female is capable of producing twenty-four to thirty kittens a year. These three facts add up to a very large over population problem. Some communities have imposed strict laws covering licensing and breeding of all pets. Some communities which have done mass euthanasia, found that in a short period they had the same problem again.

I have been working with feral cats for about ten years. I have a colony that I tend to which has ranged in size from ten to twenty-five cats (the average being seventeen cats). I've had a few great success stories, where the cat has found a home and lived happily ever after. Unfortunately, many more stories have not had such happy endings. I call the colony "Forlorn Ferals". I built a web site for them in order to help other feral cats, and the humans that care about them. I am affiliated with Alliance for Stray Animals and People, Washington, DC. Joanna Harkin, the founder of ASAP, graciously extended the offer after reading a post I placed, which concerned obtaining a nonprofit status for my colony.

TNR Programs are the Key!

I believe the only humane way of dealing with the problem of feral cat over-population is to establish Trap, neuter/spay, release programs (TNR). Non-lethal control is accepted by many well-respected institutions and organizations including the American Veterinary Medical Association, Cornell, Tufts University Veterinary Schools, and the Doris Day Animal League. England and Denmark started much of the work in this field in the early 1970s, while the organization "Cat Action Trust" established extensive spay/neuter services for caretakers. Other countries, including South Africa and Australia, have been using the trap-neuter-return (TNR) control method for many years. TNR has been implemented successfully time and again in cities throughout the US.

One must take into account that it is not the cat's fault for the feline overpopulation. The fault lies with humans; the irresponsible owners, the people that want their children to witness the miracle of birth, the ones that think that it is natures' way, the breeders who are it only for money, and the people who say it's only a cat. As you can no doubt tell, I have a hard time dealing with these types of people.

Alley Cat Allies, Washington, DC, and The Feral Cat Coalition, San Diego, CA are two of the forerunners in helping Ferals. They have supplied much of the information you have read in this article. Education, spay and neuter clinics, and TNR programs for managing feral colonies are all ways to help Ferals. There are rescue groups and colony caretakers in all areas of the U.S. that are in need of help. They need people to volunteer their time, food, supplies, and donations to continue their efforts. If you want to help, there are many ways in which you may do this, including making sure your own animals are altered and properly taken care of.

I'd like to leave you with something I hope you will like as much as I did:

A Prayer For All Animals
Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals; especially for animals who are suffering. For any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry. For all that must be put to death, we entreat for them all Thy mercy and pity.
And for all those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words. Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals and so to share the blessings of the merciful.

-Albert Schweitzer-


Sources for information in this article:

Alley Cat Allies, Washington, DC
Feral Cat Coalition, San Diego, CA
Alliance for Stray Animals and People, Washington, DC
Forlorn Ferals Colony, Gardena, CA
How old is My Kitty?