February 17, 2016

Feral Cats in Your Neighborhood?

Author: Celeste Glassman


How To Help Feral Cats and The Feral Cat Community

What is a feral cat, you ask? A feral cat looks like your typical domesticated cat but has been raised without human contact and lives outdoors for the majority of its life. Feral cats can do more good than harm for wildlife in your neighborhood. Keeping the rodent population under control, helping to maintain the ecosystem, and increasing biodiversity are just some of the benefits. According to Alley Cat Allies, a national Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) group, there are a couple of steps you can take as a feral cat caregiver to make their lives more comfortable outdoors.

It is important to understand that some feral cats, typically those older than 12 weeks, may never socialize completely. If you have encountered a friendly cat outside it is most likely a family pet or a stray. Stray cats can often be re-homed, while feral cats thrive outdoors. For this reason contacting a Trap-Neuter-Return group is one way you can help the feral cat population or colony in your neighborhood. Alley Cat Allies states in their FAQ that

“Trap-Neuter-Return is the humane, effective approach for feral cats. Feral cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped (the universal symbol of a neutered and vaccinated cat), and then returned to their outdoor home. Socialized cats and kittens are adopted into homes. The colony’s population stabilizes—no more kittens! Trap-Neuter-Return improves their lives and their relations with the community: the behaviors and stresses associated with mating stop.”

Feral cats often have little problem keeping their bellies full. However, during these cold winters they may benefit from some assistance with shelter. Check out this video by YouTube cool cats Cole and Marmalade of an easy DIY feral cat shelter that you can put in your backyard or in an area a feral cat colony roams.

All you need:

  • Tote
  • Styrofoam Cooler
  • Straw
  • Knife

Are you looking to contact a local TNR group? Feral Fixers is a Trap-Neutuer-Return group in DuPage County and they can offer resources to educate and assist in the humane control of the feral cat population in our neighborhoods.

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