Feral Cats, Learning About Them and How to Help
By Susan Rosenberg, Director of International Animal Programs
Let’s Learn About Feral Cats
How did the feral cats get out there in the first place? Who feeds them? Can I catch a disease from them? Won’t they breed out of control? Why should we care? Why should they be allowed to stay in the neighborhood? What good are they?
So Many Questions! Let’s start at the beginning…
How did the feral cats get out there in the first place? Who feeds them? Many feral or community cats are descendants of cats that were simply “put out” on the street when their families no longer want them. Sometimes they are accepted into existing colonies, and these cats quickly learn wild ways to survive life on the streets. They become part of the community when humans begin to look after them.
Often in the darkness of night, passionate feral cat caretakers risk their own safety to care for these colonies. These good souls usually use their own money for cat shelters, food, medicine, spay/neuter surgeries, and anything else their colony needs. They love these feral cats like we love our cats at home, which brings me to:
Can I catch a disease from them? Won’t they breed out of control? Why should they be allowed to stay in the neighborhood? What good are they?Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) initiatives manage colonies. The cats are humanely trapped, taken for spay/neuter surgery and vaccines, and then returned (not released) to the trapping location where they remain with food and support. They are not “released” just anywhere. This initiative is currently funded by private money. With an estimated 87 million free-roaming, community cats in the United States, eradication would cost taxpayers billions.
According to Alley Cat Rescue, An Alliance for Cat Protection, feral cats keep rodent populations in check, thus reducing the risk of the diseases that rodents carry. They reduce the spread of fleas as colony caretakers treat their cats with regular flea treatments. Fleas are treated not only directly on the cats, but also in their community living areas. The feral cats are also given a three-year rabies vaccine at the time of the spay/neuter surgery.
One last question, how can we help?
At GreaterGood.org we are passionate about feral/community cats and their caretakers. We have several programs to help.
We support feral cat organizations with humane trap grants: Humanely Control Feral Cat Population
We give spay/neuter and vaccination grants to qualifying organizations: Help Sterilize and Vaccinate Homeless Cats
We help with catfood grants: Provide Cat Food to Rescue Groups
Many cats become adoptable once pulled from a colony for medical reasons; you can help: Animal Medical Cases
I’m so honored and proud to be able to help. All animals deserve their basic needs: food, a safe place to live and medical care when needed. If you also love cats, please click on one of the links above to help. Spring (natural breeding season) is on the horizon; share this blog to help!