What happens when a city becomes overpopulated with feral cats? Euthanasia is the leading cause of documented death for cats in the United States, according to Becky Robinson, the president of Alley Cat Allies. This organization is calling attention to the plight of feral cats on October 16–National Feral Cat Awareness Day–to remind people of the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program, amongst others that are more humane than trapping and killing homeless animals. Besides, it’s a lot cheaper than “putting them down”.
What is a feral cat?
“Feral” literally means “gone wild”. It is either a domestic cat that was lost or abandoned and has since reverted to a wild state, or it was born to a stray or feral mother and has had little to no human contact. Feral cats live outdoors in groups, or colonies, that form near food sources and shelter. They can survive pretty much anywhere–and you will find them pretty much anywhere.
What is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)?
It is a program that neuters feral cats after they have been trapped, then releases the cats back to their colonies. Once trapped, the cats are evaluated, vaccinated, and sterilized. A sterilized cat will have a “tipped” left ear, meaning part of the ear was painlessly removed while under anesthesia. After they are released back to their colonies, feral cats are usually fed and monitored by designated caretakers. According to PAAWS Project, TNR is the only method that is proven to be humane and effective at controlling feral cat population growth.
Can you tame a feral cat?
Typically, feral cats are not suited to living indoors with people. But can they be tamed? Read this article by Tsu Dho Nimh, which tells you exactly how to trap and tame a feral cat. Or you can try–but it is completely up to the cat whether it will warm up to humans or not. The difference between a feral cat and a stray? Feral adults are not used to living amongst humans, so they can be difficult–if not impossible–to tame. But cats that have strayed from home can usually be re-socialized and placed in adoptive homes.
If you are interested in helping create awareness for Trap-Neuter-Release, there are several steps you can take. For example, you can help trap feral cats and have them neutered. Or you could volunteer or donate money to a local organization that participates in TNR, such as PAAWS Project. Not only is TNR a humane way of dealing with overpopulation of wild cats, but it is a lot cheaper than having them euthanized.
National Feral Cat Awareness Day