A regular volunteer’s wife is allergic to cats but she still has a passion for saving them! Michelle G shares some thoughts on feral cats and what you can do to help:

I can remember in the house I grew up in, my room was in the front and on the end. Many different animals visited that area of house and around outside my window. I can still hear the sounds of the cats outside, fighting and making this odd sound almost like crying baby. Those cats were feral. By definition, feral cats are “existing in a natural state, as animals or plants; not domesticated or cultivated; wild” (Dictonary.com). Had these cats been part of a Trap Neuter Return (TNR) program, they would have been less inclined to fight over territory or a mate. Male cats who are not neutered are more likely to roam, fight and yowl, but those behaviors can be stopped simply by having them neutered.

Now, mind you, due to allergies, I can’t even pick up my own furbaby, but humanly trapping and getting these cats to a facility that provides spay/neuter, ear tipping, typical vaccinations (including rabies); and then returning them to their colony provides many benefits to the neighborhood. Some of these benefits to the feral cats is that they become less noisy since they fight less, male cats will reduce marking their territory, which makes the community smell better. According to Alley Cat Allies, “over time TNR reduces the size of feral cat colonies anywhere from 16% to 66%.” That’s HUGE! And if you consider removing the friendly kittens from the colony and putting them up for adoption, that raises those percentages even more!!

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There are also health benefits to both female and male cats who are spayed/neutered. Unlike people, animals reproduce only because their hormones tell them too. Spaying/neutering can also prevent testicular tumors, uterine cancer and uterine infections.

Community cats may be feral or one-time pets who are stray, lost or abandoned. We all know that once you feed the neighborhood cats, they are basically yours forever. Keeping in mind that a lot of cat owners allow their cats outside, these should not be confused with community cats.

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“A stray cat is a pet who has been lost or abandoned, is used to contact with people, and is tame enough to be adopted. A feral cat is the offspring of stray or feral cats and is not accustomed to human contact. Feral cats are usually too fearful to be handled or adopted. Stray cats may be reunited with their families or adopted into new homes, but feral cats will find it difficult or impossible to adapt to living as pets in close contact with people. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t many things you can do to improve feral cats’ health and quality of life” (humanesociety.org).

October 16 is National Feral Cat Day and in an effort to continue helping cats, Karma Cat + Zen Dog will be building feral cat houses for managed colonies. What are colonies you ask? A colony is “a group of related cats.” These colonies occupy and defend a specific territory where food and shelter are available – even if they are less than ideal.

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Join us at the North Brunswick PetSmart on Saturday, October 17, 2015, from 12pm until 330pm.

~ Michelle, Bubber’s other Momma

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