National Feral Cat Day, 2018.

Hey, fellow pet lovers!

Today is National Feral Cat Day, so today’s post is a fairly short one all about our feral feline friends.

I love cats so much and I’ve always had a feline in my life when I was growing up I had the sweetest cat in the world called Penny. Now as most of you will already know I have Pooss, my beautiful raw fed indoor cat who honestly rules the house.

Let’s jump straight in and learn all about National Feral Cat Day and what we can do to help feral cats all around the world!

National Feral Cat Day, 2018

animal portrait cat animal portrait
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So what is National Feral Cat Day all about?

National Feral Cat Day was founded by Alley Cat Allies which is a registered non-profit organization in America.

They have over 650,000 supporters and have been around since 1990. For the last 26 years, they have helped many cats all around the world by making a difference through working with individuals and local communities to change laws, improve shelters and save innocent cats lives.

Alley Cat Allies have three main goals they hope to achieve and these are

  • Reforming Public Policies About Cats.

  • Saving Cats’ Lives in Shelters.

  • Changing Attitudes Toward Cats.

Alley Cat Allies is crazy about cats and they really care about changing communities views on feral cats. Where I live there really doesn’t seem to be any feral cats that I know of but no matter where you are there are bound to be a few.

To learn more about the amazing work Alley Cat Allies is doing then head over to their website after reading this post. 

adorable animal blur cat
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So what is a feral cat?

A feral cat is a cat that has had no human contact within the first six months of its life, that lives outside and is able to provide for themselves. Most feral cats seem to live in a colony alongside other feral cats as this provides them with essential socialization and safety in numbers. However, some feral cats do live alone.

Feral cats are different from stray cats as a stray cat is a cat that has been handled by humans and previously had a home but left due to getting lost, neglected or some other cause. A stray cat has a much better chance of being rehomed than a feral cat, as feral cats are not capable of living a domesticated life with humans.

A wildcat is totally different from a feral or stray cat as it is a different species called Felis silvestris. A wildcat must live in the wild, unlike feral cats who live around our cities and neighbourhoods in close proximity to food sources and water. 

What problems do feral cats cause?

Feral cats can become an issue when they breed uncontrollably and cause a surge in the feral cat population. This is something that we need to help control and thankfully Alley Cat Allies and many other cat organizations around the world are already on it.

Feral cats can cause issues such as

  • Causing a nuisance by mating or fighting loudly around neighbourhoods.

  • Feral cats could pose a threat to our pet cats with constant fighting.

  • Most important would be the ecological damaged caused by the destruction of native species, in the UK, this is mostly our birds.

These problems can be helped by the various schemes that have been put in place by animal charities such as Alley Cat Allies. 

low angle view of cat on tree
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What can we do to help control the population of feral cats?

There are so many things we can all do to help local charities, animal welfare workers and veterinarians to control the feral cat population.

There are already great programs out there such as

  • Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).

  • Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR).

Both are great and help to save the lives of cats all across the world while controlling the feral cat population in a humane and effective way.

What is Trap-Neuter-Return?

Trap-Neuter-Return is a type of program where feral cats are humanely trapped, then taken to a nearby animal clinic to be neutered, vaccinated and have their ear tipped, then they will be returned to the place they were found. This is a great way to control the feral cat population and is far more humane than culling or taking feral cats to be euthanized.

What is Shelter-Neuter-Return?

Shelter-Neuter-Return is pretty similar to Trap-Neuter-Return but the difference is that healthy free-roaming cats are brought to a nearby shelter by community members to wait until they can be referred to a Trap-Neuter-Return program. Once they have been neutered, vaccinated and had their ear tipped, they will also be released back where they were found.

By trapping and neutering feral cats we are able to control the population and ensure they do not breed like wildfire causing a surge in the feral cat population. These are the only options really as we are unable to domesticate a feral cat and try to find it a new loving home.

However, If a feral kitten has been found then they may be a possibility of domesticating that kitten providing it is young enough, between the ages of 4 – 6 weeks and the older the kitten is the less likely it will be able to be tamed.

Taming a feral kitten is worthwhile as you are able to give it a chance of having a loving home, unlike the harsh life it will have as an adult feral cat. If you do find feral kittens and decide to try to tame them, then make you sure contact your local shelter or cat charity to get the mother neutered so she doesn’t have any more babies.

Never take a kitten before it is old enough to be weaned!

black and gray short coated cat
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What can you do if you find or see a colony of feral cats or an alone feral cat with kittens?

What should you do if you do come across a group of feral cats in your local community or when your out and about? Well, there are a few things you can do and walking past and ignoring them is certainly not one. As well as the many charities helping to control the feral cat population we also need to lend a helping hand.

If you see a colony of feral cats or an alone cat with a litter of kittens then the first thing you should do is determine what type of cat you are dealing with, are you dealing with a colony or feral cats, stray cats or simply wildcats? This is important because depending on what type of cat you are dealing with depends on what you should do.

If you are dealing with a stray cat that has the possibility of being rehomed then contact your local charity or animal welfare shelter to inform them of the stray cat, and hopefully one of their animal welfare workers will come and get the cat or group of cats then take it to their local shelter.

If you are dealing with a group of feral cats then the outcome is different, the first thing to do is to determine whether these feral cats have already undergone the Trap-Neuter-Return process. You can do this by looking at their ears, have their ears been tipped?

A group of feral cats that have undergone the TNR process will have had one of their ears tipped when they were undergoing the neutering process. Which basically means a small snip of the tip of one of their ears and is a simple indicator they’ve been neutered. If they have then there is nothing more to be done and the colony should be left alone.

However, if not then contact your local charity or animal welfare service to inform them that there is a group of feral cats who haven’t undergone the Trap-Neuter-Return process and they will send a volunteer out to humanely trap the feral cats, so they can be neutered, vaccinated and safely returned to where they found them.

If you find a litter of kittens that are young enough to be tamed and if you wish to do so you can attempt to do this or inform a local shelter, as they could take them in and start socializing them early. Hopefully, by doing this they are able to find these kittens a loving forever home. Here is a site I found on taming feral kittens and it takes you through the various steps of doing so.

If you find a wildcat then simply leave them alone as they are a wild species and should not have humans interfering with them. Never hurt any cat whether it be feral, stray or a pet, if it is causing your community an issue by fouling or any of the other problems we mentioned above then, unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about it.

Depending on where you live depends on what laws protect feral or stray cats and in the UK where I live feral cats are protected under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

There are various things we can all do to help the many feral and stray cats around the world, contact your local shelter or cat charity to volunteer and help Trap-Neuter-Return feral cats or simply help to change people’s negative views on our feral feline friends.

I hope you all liked today’s post and now you know how to help the many feral cats that live close to our cities and communities. If you haven’t checked out my last post then head over there now, National Pet Wellness Month, 2018.

Also if you enjoyed today’s post then let me know by hitting that like button and giving it a share so other pet owners can learn about National Feral Cat Day.

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