Feral Cats May Be Ubiquitous, but Do They Need Our Help? 

A white and brown cat on the ground

Alley ways, country lanes, suburban streets, and urban boulevards all have something in common: they are thoroughfares for feral cats. 

The differences between feral cats and the ones we live with are striking. They are extremely skittish and fearful of humans, but instead of earning their reputations as public nuisances, they are at risk of serious illness or injury. As you might expect, there are lots of ways we can help feral cats, and the results can be deeply satisfying.

Strange Paw Prints

If you’ve seen a cat around your neighborhood, but don’t know who they belong to, they may be completely on their own. But that doesn’t mean they are necessarily alone. In fact, most feral cats live in colonies. 

Different from stray cats who have had, at one point or another, some exposure to people, feral cats were born in the wild. Without socialization skills, these cats live, fight, reproduce, and even die on the streets.

Trap, Neuter & Return

Feral cat colonies can grow exponentially. Contrary to previous public programs that included rounding up and euthanizing feral cats, current national initiatives aim to recognize their contributions to local ecosystems. 

Specifically, Trap, Neuter and Return programs (TNR), humanely trap feral cats, surgically sterilize them so they cannot reproduce, vaccinate them against contagious diseases, and return them to their hard-won territories. 

Since they cannot be successfully adopted or re-located, feral cats have a better shot when returned to the area where they were trapped. 

Helping Feral Cats at Home

There are countless volunteers out there that provide food, water and shelter for feral cats. However, without spaying or neutering, the numbers of cats will continue to grow until providing for them becomes unsustainable. 

Food is a great way to coax feral cats to come around more often, but then it’s essential to commit to a TNR approach using these guidelines:

A Hard Life

Feral cats do not have the easiest, most comfortable lives, but with the right level of human intervention, they can have a better shot at longer, healthier years.

If you have further questions or concerns about stray or homeless animals in your neighborhood, please let us know. We’re always here for you at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital

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