They are despised
by some and often killed. Yet, the presence of
/stray cats on farms, ranches, abandoned buildings, and urban alleys often starts with the abandonment of someone’s pets. These animals are usually not spayed or neutered, and therefore, populations multiply and go unchecked. However, there are solutions to curb feral cat populations without lethal means and to care for them in compassionate
This humane approach to addressing feral cat issues, particularly breeding, not only saves cats’ lives but also addresses community concerns. What is TNR? Cats are humanely trapped
, taken to a veterinarian, spayed/neutered, vaccinated for rabies and other diseases, ear-tipped (this is the way to know if a cat is part of a TNR program), and returned to their outdoor community.
This program began in the United Kingdom., and in 1990, the non-profit Alley Cat Allies formed in the United States and began implementing the project. Such a program “improves the co-existence between outdoor cats and humans in our shared environment,” according to the organization.
Learn more about Alley Cat Allies and TNR by watching this short video: https://youtu.be/A14ZH-RSdKo
The American Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) also supports TNR and other methods of working with feral cats. Read some of their ideas here: https://www.aspca.org/about-us/aspca-policy-and-position-statements/position-statement-community-cats-and-community-cat
Feral Cats, Birds, and Other Animals
Even though songbirds can be killed
by stray/feral cats, a bird is harder to catch than a mouse. Just as a bobcat or lynx stalks a rabbit for its meal, cats that live outdoors or in a barn are beneficial for keeping rodent populations, like mice, which spread disease to humans, to a minimum. During times of ships crossing the ocean, seafarers employed
cats for just that purpose, and farmers and ranchers to this day have cats on hand to keep down the mouse and rat populations.
Friends of mine own a ranch about 75 miles from where I live. They welcome the stray cats which come onto their property. They feed them and whenever possible,
them humanely, take them to the vet for spay/neuter and vaccination, then release them back on the ranch. Their barns and outbuildings have less
because of these cats. I have rarely seen a dead bird on their property, and my friends even put out feeders for the songbirds; therefore, they aren’t concerned
about the feral cats killing birds.
One of the stray cats they discovered a few years ago had been someone’s pet for she was/is super friendly and even declawed. She is now their house pet, although she is allowed
outdoors on occasion
. I wrote a short story about “Fancy the Farm Cat” that I’m happy to share with you; just a leave a comment on this blog post.
Read a comment from Alley Cat Allies regarding bird and animal predation by feral cats here: https://www.alleycat.org/alley-cat-allies-statement-about-journal-of-conservation-biology-article/
Help for Community/Stray/Feral Cats
During my travels, I've visited two small towns, one in Wyoming and the other in Oregon, where community cats were cared
for and TNR programs were implemented
. People and town governments can work together, alongside local and national cat advocate groups, to help reduce populations of feral/stray/community cats and do so in humane and compassionate, non-lethal ways.
Best Friends Animal Society provides resources for those who desire to help stray cats in their community. They also run successful program partnerships with other animal welfare organizations in Utah, where Best Friends is based
. Learn more about these endeavors here: https://utah.bestfriends.org/our-programs/communitycats
As the ASPCA notes, “Community cats exist because of generations of human action and inaction, therefore humanely addressing the needs of these cats and implementing programs which help prevent their reproduction, are the responsibility of the communities in which they live. The ASPCA encourages cat advocates, animal shelters and rescues, local government officials and the public to work together….”
To receive a free copy of my short story “Fancy the Farm Cat,” please leave a comment and your email address.