Feral cats

What is a feral cat?
Cats are inherently wild creatures and can only become socialised and domesticated by friendly human contact during early life. Kittens born to cats ‘living rough’, whether the mother is a domestic stray or a feral herself, will grow up to be untameable unless brought into the human fold within the first few weeks of their life. The behaviour of feral cats is so different from the ‘fireside companion’ we all know, some people don’t realise that they are one and the same species.

Cats Protection estimates that there are nine million stray cats and one-and-a-half million feral cats in the UK.

What is the problem?
There are feral colonies in places as varied as farms, industrial complexes, housing estates, military bases, holiday parks, fishing lakes and garden centres. If nothing is done to intervene, the numbers in a colony will spiral out of control leaving the cats short of food, susceptible to disease and potentially a nuisance to their human neighbours. Simply removing the cats is not a long-term solution, because if conditions are suitable a new colony will soon move in and the cycle begins again.

How do we help feral cats?
The best option for such a colony is to humanely trap the cats and assess them. Ferals cannot be handled but can be assessed under sedation. Any illnesses can then be identified and if possible treated. Healthy adults are neutered and released. Sometimes this can be at the original site but in other instances healthy neutered ferals can find a welcome home in other locations, where they are effective in controlling mice and rats. Kittens caught early enough can be domesticated and homed conventionally. As an example, we rescued a litter of kittens from a field next to one of the busiest roundabouts in Cornwall. They were tamed and homed with happy futures ahead of them.

Our feral volunteer works in the postcode areas below to improve the lives of feral cats in all kinds of situations.

Truro & District Branch of Cats Protection pays for the cats to be trapped, health checked neutered, and returned to the wild, so that they can live out their natural lives without contributing to a population explosion.

Our volunteer will also help with injured /unwell feral cats. In this case, the cat would be caught as soon as possible and taken to the vet for assessment.

How can you help?
Truro and District Cats Protection covers the postcode area TR1-TR9.  If you live in any of those postcodes and are concerned about the welfare of feral cats in your area, contact our helpline number 01872 463466.

If you are able to offer a suitable rural situation for the relocation of feral cats, again please contact 01872 463466. Relocated feral cats will catch vermin on farms and at stables etc. In fact feral cats can provide efficient and environmentally friendly pest control – a safe alternative to poisoning or trapping.

If you live in a postcode not mentioned above, you should contact National Cats Protection on 03000 12 12 12  or by email neutering@cats.org.uk.

All cats are neutered and health-checked before they leave our care and we settle them in to a new location with temporary sleeping quarters, food and litter.