Feral cats are ‘wild’ offspring of unsterilized domestic cats that have been abandoned. These domestic cats, in time, will turn feral in order to survive without human assistance. Feral cats are unsocialized to humans and are free-roaming. We have many feral cat colonies in the Valley and ICAN is doing our best to try and reduce their numbers. Feral cats are not to be mistaken for wildlife, as they can not fully fend for themselves and thrive. They do, however, breed uncontrollably and lead very stressful, sometimes painful lives due to malnutrition, disease, trauma and have high kitten mortality.
What is ICAN doing to prevent more feral cats?
First and foremost, we promote responsible cat guardianship, focusing on spaying and neutering. We also encourage identification tags and keeping cats indoors or supervised outdoors.
When funding allows, ICAN will implement a TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) program. This means that feral cats will be humanely trapped, taken to the vet for spaying or neutering and ear-tipping and then they are released back to where they were trapped (their “home). Feral cats do not do well being released in unfamiliar territory however, and from time to time, we do run into the scenario where the public is against having them released back to their home area. In this situation, we rely on our Farm Friends to help us provide a safe environment for these feral cats.
Kittens of feral cats, if captured early enough (ideally, under 6 weeks of age) can be brought to ICAN and rehabilitated and socialized to humans. They then are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, dewormed and put up for adoption.
As study after study has shown, TNR is the only successful, humane way to eradicate feral cat colonies. It used to be that feral cats were rounded up and culled, but it was discovered that this created a “vaccum” effect, whereby the empty spaces in the colony would just be filled with more feral cats. With TNR, the colonies naturally reduce due to attrition, but live out their lives being healthier and with less “nuisance” habits of their unaltered counterparts, which is a win-win for everyone.