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Feral Cats

16 January 2019
WHAT ARE FERAL CATS? - the term feral describes members of a domesticated species that have reverted to living as wild animals.  Feral cats have had little or no contact with humans.  They can never be tamed and this should never be attempted because they are very fearful of people and it would seriously compromise their welfare.  Feral cats live alone - or in groups called colonies - and are found in towns, cities and rural areas.  The best solution for feral cats is for them to be neutered and returned to their familiar environment.

We are often contacted about feral cats in and around peoples' properties and are asked to remove them.  This, if we were able to do, may temporarily reduce the numbers, but this leads to what is known as the 'vacuum effect'.  Any cats left behind will continue to breed and others will move into the area which is clearly a good source of food and shelter.  The solution is to trap, neuter and return (TNR) the cats.  Over a period of years this will reduce the size of the colony.  A controlled, healthy and stable colony will deter other feral cats from moving in and will keep vermin levels down.  The best solution for feral cats, after neutering,  is for them to be returned to their familiar environment.  To do otherwise would be extremely stressful for them, as they become dependent on being in familiar surroundings. 

If we can trap kittens between the ages of 2-7 weeks, we have a great success rate of finding homes for them, as this period is known as the 'socialisation period'  If it is outwith this period, and as the kittens have had little or no contact with people, it is very difficult for them to adjust and being trapped, neutered and returned to the site along with the others in the colony is best for them.

When feral cats are trapped and neutered, they have 7 to 10mm removed from point of their left ear.  This is a signal that the cat has been neutered and will avoid being taken to the vet, put under anaesthetic only to find that it has already been neutered.  This procedure is painless and done while the cat is under anaesthetic and if trapped again, they can be freed immediately. 

We would like to remind folks that cats are protected by law and killing or injuring a cat intentionally, constitutes an offence.