My concern is about the growing population of feral and free-roaming cats in our community. Killing cats is not the answer! It’s inhumane and does not solve the dilemma because more irresponsible people will continue to compound the problem as long as cats exist. The situation will not go away, but it can be controlled. It has been said that our community does not have a cat problem, but we at P.U.P.S. know it does, just by the number of cats that our small group has been neutering and spaying for the last several years. You don’t have to look too far to find a cat that no one seems to claim. As a community, we can look the other way and not address the problem or we can plan to do something, humanely, about it. Our group (and others like ours) choose to do the latter.
Feral cats are not the same as free-roaming or strays. Many have never known people or been inside a home. Here are some tips for living in peace and harmony with community cats.
Feral cats have been living outdoors for thousands of years and they can live peacefully in communities with people. Certain designated cat care providers in our communities need to take the initiative to provide humane colonies for cats to reside away from neighborhoods.
A free roaming or abandoned cat has been someone’s pet. It cannot fend for itself and most likely will not survive without an easy food source. Usually these are the cats seen in neighborhoods.
If people choose to feed cats, provide their feeding stations only during the daylight hours and, if residing in the city, store any excess food in airtight containers when not feeding during the afternoon. Make sure the area is clean daily.
In inclement weather, provide cat condos that are sturdy and attractive to the eye. In addition, make sure condos have a clean bed of straw (not hay) at all times. Make sure condos have two entrances/exits so cats can escape from any predators.
Make sure your colony of cats are neutered or spayed along with a rabies shot. Keep a visual roster of the cats and know when a new cat is added so it can be sterilized. For feral cats, suggest to the veterinarian to do an ear clip at the time of the surgery so a cat not sterilized can be easily spotted.
Never take feral cats or free roaming cats to an animal shelter as they do not belong there. They will find certain death at animal control or most humane societies.
There are more ways to live in harmony with community cats and ways to deter them from porches, gardens, and other designated areas. For additional information or questions about community cats, contact our source for this article, Alley Cat Allies (alleycat.org) a national organization for cats, located in Bethesda, Maryland. Or locally write: Pets Uniting People Society, Box 49, Tremont City, OH 45372. firstname.lastname@example.org