Do you have feral (also called community) cats in your neighborhood? I know we do. There are feral cat colonies all over the world. Some areas embrace these cats and truly treat them as “community” cats. In other places, they are hunted down and taken to shelters where they are killed because they are not socialized to people and are therefore unadoptable.
This outdated method of managing feral colonies is cruel and it doesn’t work. Cats live in an area where there is a food source and shelter. When cats are removed from an area, others just move in.
Trapping these feral cats and killing them was not solving or even making a dent in the problem so Alley Cat Allies came up with a better idea. In 2001, they launched their Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program. This humane method of managing community cats is the only way to stabilize feral colonies. Spayed or neutered and vaccinated cats are returned to their original location. No kittens are born and the colony doesn’t grow.
Hundreds of cities and towns are now carrying out successful programs but in the majority of cities, feral cats are still brought to local shelters where they are killed. About 70% of cats who enter shelters are killed there, including virtually 100% of feral cats. What a sad statistic!
Opponents of feral colonies have tried to blame cats for wildlife and bird deaths. Some studies claim that cats kill 3-4 billion birds a year. Although that sounds like a lot (if it is even close to accurate), another study shows that 988 million birds die from crashing into windows! Studies and statistics can be skewed, as most of you know. The real danger to birds are humans, just like they are to feral cats. Studies show that the overwhelming causes of wildlife and bird death are habitat loss, urbanization, pollution, and environmental degradation—all caused by people, not community cats.
The feral cat issue is the result of irresponsible pet ownership. Until all pet cats are spayed or neutered, unwanted cats and kittens that are turned out will continue to add to the problem. National Feral Cat Day is a day of awareness and activism for community cats. You can be a part of the solution by sharing this post and the information available at Alley Cat Allies.
You can read what I wrote last year about National Feral Cat Day by clicking here.
Your ADVO-Cat for ferals,