Next Thursday is National Feral Cat Day. Wondering what National Feral Cat Day is? It was launched by Alley Cat Allies ‘to raise awareness about feral cats, promote Trap-Neuter-Return, and recognize the millions of compassionate Americans who care for them.’ (from the National Feral Cat Day website). All over the country, various organizations have planned events to increase awareness, educate people and help these often-misunderstood kitties.
If you would like to learn more about feral cats, Cats in Tow ran a series of posts last year discussing several aspects of the feral cat issue. Click on the titles to read more: What to Do; First Step; Stray, Feral, Pet; The Feral Fix; Why TNR; Cat Colony Care; TNR: Humane Trapping; Colony Carer Help and More Help for Feral Cats. (all will have links)
Or better yet, get involved with National Feral Cat Day. Click here to find an event taking place near you. If you are in Orange County, the OCSPCA has organized a Feral Fix drive. Or contact your local rescue shelter to find out what you can do.
Feral cats are not wild animals. They have been domesticated by humans and need our help. What’s your plan for National Feral Cat Day?
In honor of St Patrick’s Day, we are sharing an article from Ireland. This post was originally published by Feral Cats of Ireland. For more information on what this kind-hearted organization is doing for feral cats in Ireland, visit their website or Facebook page.
Ireland Has a Feral Cat Crisis
Feral and stray cats can be found right throughout Ireland in our cities, towns and countryside. In housing estates, industrial estates, at factories, on farms, at hotels and hospitals, in car parks and derelict buildings. In groups called colonies, they manage to survive by living on their instincts and with the kindness of humans who feed them daily.
Feral cats in Ireland are more commonly described as ‘wild’ cats. They are the same species as domestic cats, in fact many are former domestic pets that have been abandoned by their owners or left behind when their owners moved house or passed away. Some have strayed from home and are lost. Many become wild in order to survive and their offspring will also be wild as they will have had little or no human contact. All are trying to survive as best they can. It is not their fault they find themselves homeless and hungry.
There are no official statistics as to the number of feral cats in Ireland but their numbers have been guesstimated at hundreds of thousands. The reason for this vast number is that the majority of feral cats are unspayed and unneutered and consequently breeding uncontrollably. One female cat and her offspring can be responsible for a colony of 30 cats in an area in just one year.
Whatever the true number, Ireland has a feral cat crisis. That such numbers of cats are living in our communities, often struggling to survive in sometimes harsh conditions with not enough to eat on a daily basis, a lack of adequate shelter from the elements and with no access to veterinary treatment for minor or major illness or injury or just the basics such as parasite treatment is unacceptable.
We have created this crisis and it is up to each of us to be compassionate in our dealings with stray and feral cats in our neighbourhoods, responsible and humane when addressing their plight and to educate ourselves on the most effective way to address the issue of uncontrolled breeding which is Trap/Neuter/Return.
Feral cats have the right to live long, healthy, safe and peaceful lives in their territories without the burden of breeding or threat of death. Trap/neuter/return offers them that opportunity.
With many thanks to Feral Cats of Ireland for allowing Cats in Tow to share this post.
Have you had experiences with feral cats in other countries? We would be interested to hear your stories.
Why does Cats in Tow believe that trap, neuter, release programs are the best for feral cats? We believe that every cat deserves a chance at a happy life. The best scenario would be for every cat to have a warm, safe home where they were adequately fed, received attention and were kept healthy. That is not the reality for many, many cats though.
Just because these cats don’t have a human address, does that mean they are unwanted or should not be cared for? Cats in Tow does not think so. Feral cats are not going to make good pets (except on very rare occasions). It is best that they are left where they are, which also keeps the population of feral cats stable.
However, they need to be spayed or neutered, for their own health, to reduce the problems associated with mating and to keep them from producing more kittens (an un-spayed female cat can be responsible for over 3200 kittens according to the National Pet Alliance).
TNR also gives the people caring for the feral cats a chance to check their health, manage parasites and assess whether it is possible to transfer kittens to a life with humans.
We’ll go into specifics on upcoming blogs about how to get a TNR program started and resources for people who are assisting with a feral cat colony in their community. If you are curious about the science behind TNR, Alley Cat Allies have a list of scientific studies here).
Are you supporting a feral cat colony? Please send us a message to tell us about your experiences.