Feral cats populate many communities, both rural and urban, and their numbers only seem to grow year after year. It may be easy to look at this as a nuisance to humans, but it’s important to remember that these felines have not chosen this life. Unscrupulous owners who neglected, abandoned or failed to spay/neuter their pets are to blame for this occurrence. Upon realizing this harsh truth of the matter, you may feel compelled to give the feral cats around you a helping hand. Here’s how you can do exactly that.
Recruit the Help of a TNR Agency
TNR stands for “trap, neuter, and return.” This is a common practice used to help control feral cat populations. Essentially, the TNR agency (often sponsored by a shelter or other animal welfare association) can help concerned neighbors trap feral cats, take them to a vet where they will be spayed or neutered, and then returned to where they came from. This doesn’t permanently remove the feral cats from their conditions, but it does stave off the devastating effects of overpopulation and rampant reproduction.
Get in Contact with Your Neighbors
It would serve the feral cats in your community well for any concerned humans to get in touch with their fellow neighbors. This is useful in helping to track where these cats are hanging out and may even help you figure out where they came from in the first place. Neighbors can – and should – work together for the betterment of the four-legged creatures that comprise their community. This is also a great opportunity to inform neighbors of the benefits of TNR programs.
Offer Food and Shelter
Many feral cats cannot be caught on any human’s terms and are not adoptable for this and other reasons. Leave out food where the cats can safely and easily access it. You can check the level in the food dish to see how quickly it is disappearing. If it is vanishing rapidly, then you may have more than one feral feline skulking around.
During inclement weather, feral cats are vulnerable to the elements. If at all possible, try to provide a means of shelter for these animals. If you have a barn or shed that won’t be compromised by their presence, this is great. But not everyone has that option. If you don’t, you can make a makeshift cat house out of a storage tote or even a box. Fill it with hay or towels for warmth. It may not be a 5-star resort, but it’s much better than freezing to death.
The most important thing that you can do is to ensure that feral cats are spayed or neutered. Look out for tipped ears, which are ears that have been modified to signify that the cat has been fixed. Once you can breathe easily knowing that your neighbor cats won’t be reproducing, you can direct your focus to other things, up to and including containing and even adopting them yourself.