Most neighborhoods have feral cats, whether they make themselves known or skulk in the shadows waiting for their chance at food. Many try to help these little guys out, especially in this kind of weather, but what really is the right way to do so? First, a look at the facts. Feral cats are originally descended from unaltered domesticated cats who were allowed to reproduce and whose kittens were not socialized with human contact. Feral cats are wild animals, are afraid of humans and cannot be handled. While feral cats are truly wild, many other “community” cats tend to fall into the feral category, including unowned strays and barn cats. These cats often group together in a colony around a common food source.
The number of feral cats in an area can grow very quickly without human input. The most effective and compassionate method for curbing population growth is sterilization to prevent reproduction, also known as trapneuter- return (TNR). TNR involves the humane trapping of cats, spay or neuter surgery by a licensed veterinarian, and return of the altered cats back to the location where they were trapped. You should note that simply trapping and permanently removing cats from an area does not reduce population size as new cats will move into the area, drawn in by the existing food source.
TNR cats are vaccinated for rabies/ FVRCP and eartipped, which means a small tip of an ear is surgically removed so cats can be identified as incapable of reproduction and not retrapped.
If you have a feral cat on your property in need of surgery, contact Spay’sTheWay at (859) 233-0044 Ext. 228 for advice and assistance. For feral colonies, the Lexington Humane Society partners with a local organization called Spay Our Strays for TNR. If you would like to contact Spay Our Strays directly regarding TNR, call (859) 420-4076 or e-mail SOScatsKY@gmail.com.
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