Sweet Souls Foundation
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Stray Cats are usually friendly and have been kept as a pet and is either lost or abandoned. Some behaviors include:
- Fearful at first, but allows you to approach or even pet
- May be vocal, such as meowing while caged or spoken to
- Ragged and dirty in appearance
- Likely to be alone and not part of a colony
- May approach people, houses, or cars
- Visible during the daytime
Feral cats are not socialized to people. While they are socialized to their colony members and bonded to each other, they do not have that same relationship with people. Some behaviors include
- Hiding, avoids people, if visible at all it is usually nighttime
- May belong to a colony
- A visible ear tip
- Will not meow or purr
- May hiss, growl, or express other defensive behaviors
- May have a well kept coat
In addition, the lifespan of feral cats compares favorably with the lifespan of pet cats. A long-term study (published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2003) of a Trap-Neuter-Return program noted that 83% of the cats present at the end of the observation period had been there for more than six years—meaning that the cats’ lifespans were comparable to the mean lifespan of 7.1 years for pet cats.
Feral cat caregivers can take steps to make feral cats more comfortable, like neutering them, feeding them, and providing shelter. These steps promote the cats’ well-being, improve their relationships with neighbors, and assist the people who live nearby to understand and co-exist with the cats. But most feral cats don’t require intervention beyond Trap-Neuter-Return.
|How to Live With Cats in Your Neighborhood
Community cats, also called feral cats, are members of the domestic cat species just like pet cats, but are not usually socialized to people and therefore not adoptable. Cats have been living outdoors near us for more than 10,000 years. They typically live in groups called colonies and have strong social bonds with their colony members.
So, you’re seeing cats in your yard…
Like all animals, community cats make their home where they find shelter and food, often in close proximity to people. We understand that not everyone enjoys having cats in their yards, and these simple tips will help you divert outdoor cats away from certain areas. You may also want the cats to stick around; some ideas below will help make areas attractive to cats. Coupled with Trap-Neuter-Return and ongoing care, these quick steps will help you coexist with your neighborhood cats.
Because feral cats are not socialized and not adoptable, they do not belong in animal pounds or shelters, where virtually 100% of them are killed. Instead, they should be neutered, vaccinated, and returned to their outdoor home.
Trap-Neuter-Return is the only effective and humane way to stabilize community cat populations. Cats are humanely trapped and taken to a veterinarian, where they are neutered and vaccinated. Kittens and socialized cats are placed into loving homes. Healthy, adult cats are returned to their colony site, where they are often provided continuing care by volunteers.
Trap-Neuter-Return works. No more kittens. Cats’ lives and health are improved, and the population stabilizes and declines over time. The behaviors and stresses associated with mating, such as yowling and fighting, stop.
The Vacuum Effect
Easy Solutions to Cat Behaviors
There are cat paw prints on my car.
Cats are digging in my garden
Cats are lounging in my yard or on my porch.
Cats are sleeping under my porch or in my shed.
Feeding the cats attracts insects and wildlife.
Cats are yowling, fighting, spraying, roaming, and having kittens.
Many shelters now realize that allowing feral cats to enter their doors is a death sentence and that Trap-Neuter-Return is the humane approach for their care. In recognition of this, some pounds and shelters have a “no feral cats accepted” policy, as well as a policy of returning eartipped cats to the place where they were initially trapped. Unfortunately, there are more pounds and shelters that still kill feral cats—some as soon as the cat enters the facility. Feral cats live full, healthy lives outdoors, but are killed in shelters.
Not only does this end the lives of these beautiful feral cats, it jeopardizes the lives of healthy and adoptable, friendly cats. If you take a feral cat to the shelter, they have to hold the cat for s specified period of time, usually 7 days, before they can euthanize the cat. This takes up the cage that an adoptable cat could potentially be using to get adopted.
What is Trap-Neuter-Return?
Trap-Neuter-Return is a proven, humane method of controlling the population within community cat colonies. Research has shown that, when correctly implemented, TNR stabilizes and reduces feral cat populations, eliminates undesirable behaviors associated with mating, and is more effective and cost-efficient than lethal control in animal shelters.
T is for Trap- Feral cats are humanely trapped in a live trap using proper methods.
N is for Neutered- Each cat caught in the humane trap will be taken to a licensed Veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped (the universal symbol of a sterilized feral cat).
R is for Return- After the feral cats have recovered from surgery they will be returned to their outdoor homes, where they are looked after by caretakers.
Trap-Neuter-Return effectively stabilizes the population of free roaming cats and the size of colonies eventually decrease. Not only is TNR life-saving for our independent cats, it is also cost efficient for our shelters and easy for our volunteers.
Cats entering traditional animal pounds and shelters have only three possible outcomes: being adopted-23%, reunited with an owner-2%, or killed-72%. In our shelter systems, unsocialized and unfriendly “feral” cats are not adoptable. They can’t adjust to life in a human home, and they have no traditional “owners” to claim them. For them, the only possible outcome in our shelters is death. Most people are not aware that feral cats are killed almost 100%
How Can I Help?
Sweet Souls Foundation is ALWAYS looking for active participants to set traps, transport to clinics, feed colonies, and even organize mass trapping events. The need goes on, if you want to protect and improve the lives of cats, here’s how to help:
- Volunteer to participate in a TNR event
- Implement a TNR program in your neighborhood
- Contact your local shelter to urge them to eradicate the problems feral cats face by sending letters and petitions directly to your elected officials, decision makers, and others.
- Volunteer to distribute informational materials or messages to community members
- Speak up for the voiceless and advocate for change among your peers
CLICK HERE if you would like one of our volunteers to contact you to answers any questions involving TNR