Chances are if you live in a rural or perhaps suburban environment, you live close to feral cats – skittish, roughened wild cats which may look like they want some human help, only to run away when approached. These cats are not tame and in no way eager to be a house cat and are perfectly capable of living outside in their own, whether it damages some of the ecosystems or not.
If you end up surrounded by those untamed creatures, you have several options. One, you can leave them claim they are just not your problem. This is a favored solution for many but by no means a great one. There are over 70 million feral cats in the U.S.A. scientists and alone rightly blame the extinction of thirty-three species of bird on that huge variety of cats: cats that hunt, kill and eat a number of birds, reptiles and rodents. This overpopulation could quickly lead to the extinction of other birds and maybe even some prey mammals. Plus, who would like the reek of a feral cat spraying on its territory underneath and around their carport? Yuck.
The second choice would be to start feeding them. This is a much better option, but still not ideal as your third option, which we will discuss in a minute. Feeding these cats at set times during the mornings or evenings and putting a homemade shelter for them is a fantastic idea – cats that are not hungry will pounce half-heartedly and are far more likely to wind up empty-pawed after the hunt. But this also leads to several different issues: spreading diseases and overpopulation. Diseases like toxoplasmosis, parasites, and rabies can spread through a bite or scratch when a neighborhood pet mingles with a feral. In turn, diseases can be spread into the unsuspecting owners when they are animal interacts with them. The illnesses can lead to death in some events, and despair follows after a creature’s death on account of the sicknesses.
This adds to the population, raising the risk factor of the earlier mentioned points. As the cats’ caretaker, you would also have to increase the food you put out for the animals daily due to the additional mouths to feed. You’d also be given the job of taming and adopting the kittens out – and just given a specific window of time to do this.
The last option of Trap-Neuter-Return (T-N-R). Melbourne Squirrel Removal entailed trapping the cats using humane, catch-and-release traps prior to getting them sterilized and releasing them again. This eliminates almost all of the issues with having feral cats around your yard. Now that there are neutered, they won’t be having any more kittens, they will be vaccinated and dewormed so they won’t spread diseases or parasites, and they won’t feel the need to spray their land as much.
Don’t be afraid to get your community shelter or the community involved! They may also ear-tip (remove the top bit of the ear) the cat so that they will not be caught and trapped by other well-meaning people and rescue groups.
Now for the final issue: What about the birds? That is where you start feeding the cats. Keeping them fed once or twice a day ensures they are well-fed. This boosts their immune system also, which makes them less likely to contract potential sicknesses that aren’t eliminated by vaccines or deworming. And now they are feeding daily, they are not as inclined to bother so much with searching.
Feral cats are not bad. They help keep mice away from the barn, are interesting to watch and all they require is a bowl of food daily and space to be crazy, free-roaming cats. All you’ve got to do is give them that opportunity!