So you have feral cats in your area, or perhaps your neighbor does, or perhaps your townhouse or condominium association is wondering what to do about them.
You have a few choices:
- You can ignore them. This is not a good solution as the problem is only going to get worse. In addition to problems you may already have, such as spraying (by tomcats marking their territory), howling / yowling by cats when they are in heat, etc., you will also soon have litters and litters of kittens.
- You can call Animal Care & Control and have them trapped and euthanized (yes, Animal Care & Control will euthanize them - they really don't have a choice. Feral adult cats are NOT adoptable and, if Animal Care & Control kept them, they would quickly run out of room for other animals). In addition to being inhumane, this is ineffective and sometimes introduces its own problems. First of all it's expensive; it costs Animal Care & Control many dollars to respond to a call, capture the cat(s), return them to their facility, keep them for 7 days and then euthanize them. All of these activities cost money. If you remove these cats, often others will take their place (the "vacuum effect"). There was a reason that Feral Cats migrated to this area in the first place (shelter, food, etc.). Finally, removing these cats may produce a rodent problem in your area, as this natural "check" on these creatures will be removed.
- You can Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) them to their outdoor home. TNR consists of a) humanely trapping the Feral cats, b) having them spayed or neutered (also ear-tipped to mark them as Feral Cats, vaccinated for Rabies & Distemper and micro-chipped) and c) returning them to their outdoor home. Having these Feral cats neutered reduces and, hopefully, eliminates all of the annoying behaviour associated with these animals. No more spraying, no more howling and, most important, NO MORE KITTENS.
How do you get started with TNR? Visit our RESOURCES page to learn more about TNR and to find TNR organizations in your local area.