It Will Take A Community
Regardless of how people feel about feral cats, the fact is, they are out there – and, in some places, numbers are abundant. The single most effective way to handle feral cat populations is to manage their numbers with the Trap, Neuter, and Return (TNR) method. This internationally accepted, humane approach not only controls the number of free-roaming and feral cats, but it also reduces the spread of disease and improves the lives of countless cats. This is just one element of cat colony care, but one that can have an enormous impact on the surrounding community.
Feral Cat Caregivers
There are many ways people can help support the lives of feral cats, but for overall success, TNR must be the first step. Since most feral cats that enter shelters are eventually euthanized, TNR saves lives and also curbs unnecessary spending on animal control. By trapping, sterilizing, and returning cats to their territories, the population will eventually decline. Pet Savers is passionate about supporting and minimizing the community cat population in our region. In addition to daily walk-in spay/neuter/vaccine service for community cats, watch our social media and website for grants and special one-day events.
Cats that are spayed or neutered are not compelled to fight, roam, and mate. Behaviors often associated with wandering, territorial cats are replaced by more docile, less aggressive traits. As a result, police and animal control officers aren’t called as frequently when cat colony care is supported by property owners and neighbors. Additionally, public health threats are largely reduced when feral cats are vaccinated against contagious diseases.
Cat Colony Care
Once a person leaves out food for a community cat (stray, free-roaming, feral cat), the cat views their location as a desirable place and stays. Proper management is a long term, year-round responsibility, with cats that become dependent on caregivers for the following:
Off the ground food station with cover and open sides
Water (keep in mind in winter water must be unfrozen, and certain accommodations must be made to prevent freezing)
Sturdy, off the ground, and fully covered shelter
Insulation (straw is known for being a great insulator for cold nights)
Cleaning of feeding station and bedding
Also of importance is constant monitoring and record keeping. Cat colony care hinges on tracking numbers for TNR. Note the appearance, gender, age, date of arrival, and when TNR occurred.
New arrivals to the colony should be trapped and sterilized as soon as they appear. Tame adults and kittens older than 5 weeks old can be separated from the colony, socialized and prepared for possible adoption.
Lastly, cat colony care involves providing veterinary care for sick or injured cats. This helps prevent the spread of disease and illness.