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Feral Cats Need Help

Momma Cat

Gray Cat


I'm not really a cat person but somehow we have two cats that we take care of. One is a feral cat who took up residence with its brother or sister several winters ago. They were sleeping on our front porch under a chair cover. Being softies, we began to feed them thinking it was cold and they needed something to eat. Both were nearly identical, the only way we could tell the difference was the white ring around the neck. One sibling disappeared and was never seen again. Little did we know this is common with feral cats.

About two years ago, Gray Cat brought Momma Cat to the backdoor one morning as if to say, these people hand out food and they will feed you too. She was a young cat and we hadn't seen her before in the neighborhood. Our backyard became her territory

Last fall, we discovered Momma Cat with a litter of four little kittens. Before we could do anything with them, they too disappeared. We don't know what happened to them.

My husband and I decided that we had to do something. The feral cat population is huge in our neighborhood and has been for a long time. One of our neighbors had a cat that had litters twice a year for many years; its little belly hung to the ground. All the kittens were left to survive on their own - or not. Another neighbor fed some of them and right now has six cats living in her back yard.

This could not continue. We didn't want to see more kittens become victims nor did we want to have more than 2 cats living in our yard, so I did some research on the web about feral cats. It seemed that what we needed to do was trap them and get them neutered to stop this cycle of breeding.

Where to begin! We called the local animal control. They would help if we trapped the cats and made arrangements for the spay clinic. Problem is, it is held once a month and has a long waiting list. But we didn't know where to get a trap or how to trap them. Then I found SpayAustin* on the web . They are a wonderful organization. Loving, caring people who help animals. They have a mission to help with the over-population of feral cats. One lady in particular helped us by loaning us two traps, showing us how to set them, even making an appointment for us at a clinic. Danielle was so concerned, she kept Momma Cat for a week to make certain she was healthy enough to be set free. (Gray Cat disappeared the minute the traps were put out and his turn hasn't come just yet.) *SpayAustin has changed because of funding changes, I'll update their new information soon. (Added 11/11/06)

A veterinarian friend who lives in another state told me that wild cats will eventually hurt all the animals around, domestic pets as well as the feral cats because wild cats get diseased and can spread illness to other animals. Not only that, but they kill birds and other small animals. Feral cats need to be trapped, neutered and released, otherwise new feral cats will return to the same area and the vicious cycle continues.

Momma Cat is back home and seems more loving. She still won't let us pick her up but she loves to be petted. We know that she is a wild animal and always will be, but she has been vaccinated, spayed and given medication for fleas and rabies.

If there are feral cats where you live, please consider helping everyone by getting them neutered. The cost is minimal if not free and the rewards are great. I've listed some resources below to help if you want to help keep your neighborhood animals healthier and stop the slaughter of birds and other animals like squirrels. There is also the risk of rabies and feline leukemia spreading to domestic cats. When you help a wild cat, you also are improving your neighborhood and surroundings.

Trap Neuter Vaccinate Return

thumbnail Homeless Cats Accord "Because Pet Over-Population is Everyone's Problem."
thumbnail Feral Cat Coalition "...a problem that's causing a lot of suffering --- and costing you money!!!"
thumbnail Cat Wrangling 101 "Education: the key to awareness"
thumbnail Cat Care Society "Humane management of Feral Cats"
thumbnail Pets 911 "Find, adopt or help a pet where you live"
thumbnail Love that Cat State listings for assistance.
thumbnail Alley Cat Allies Helping people help feral cats.
thumbnail In Austin:
Animal Trustees of Austin Spay/Neuter clinic They take 12 feral cats without an appointment every Thursday morning to spay or neuter. People can call for details.
thumbnailShadow Cats A volunteer group of individuals,dedicated to improving the lives of abused, abandoned, feral, stray, and injured cats.

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