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Don’t Shoot Feral Cats!

Feral catWhat is the difference between feral (wild) cats and stray cats?
One of the primary ways to determine whether a cat is feral or stray is by how it reacts to humans. A stray cat is used to living with people and will not appear fearful of your presence, unless the stray has also been abused. A feral cat is a stray that has been on its own so long that it has adapted to “the wild,” or it is the offspring of a stray or abandoned cat. These cats are fearful of people and usually dart off when a person comes near. Feral cats have learned how to live and survive on their own or in a colony of related cats.

Where do feral cats live?
Animals live in areas where there is shelter and a source of food. Cats in rural areas often live in barns because many abandoned cats are dumped on farms. Cats in suburban areas may live under porches or sheds, wherever there is shelter and food available. Cats in urban areas are usually referred to as alley cats and may live near restaurants where garbage dumpsters are a regular source of food.

If feral cats are a nuisance, why not shoot them?
The number of feral cats in certain areas can be a problem. However, the best way to deal with the problem is not to euthanize them. If some cats are removed from an area of food and shelter, other cats will move in. If part of a colony is removed, the rest of the colony will continue to have kittens. The best solution is TNR.

What is a TNR’d cat?
The best solution for controlling the feral and stray cat population is also the most humane. TNR stands for “Trap – Neuter – Return.” There are many animal rescue organizations that utilize this program. This program involves using a humane trap to capture the animal, taking the animal to the shelter for spaying or neutering, and then returning the animal to its habitat. When the cat is in for sterilization, it will also be vaccinated for rabies. The ear will then be notched, “eartipped,” which is the universal mark of a sterilized cat.

The reason TNR works better than euthanasia is that it reduces the number of cats in an area that can increase their own population. Removal, as was mentioned, just makes room for other, fertile, cats to move in or for the fertile cats who avoid being killed to have more kittens.

Where Can I Find Out More?
For more information, contact the animal shelters in your area. Visit to quickly find shelters in your area. You can also find more information online at the following websites:

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