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Feral CatsPosted Thursday, July 17, 2008, at 8:58 PM
For the lasts year or so, I've had a feral cat living outside my home. I haven't been real pleased with him since he was fond of spraying my front door. My house cats didn't seem all that worried about him and they even go outside when I have a day off. I just let him do his thing. A few weeks ago my neighbor told me she was going to try and tame him down and get him neutered. I'd been thinking of doing a little trap-neuter-release program of 1. Today she brought him in and we sedated him enough to get him in the gas chamber to get him the rest of the way out. We then drew blood for a feline leukemia and FIV (aka feline aids) test. Unfortunately, he was positive for FIV but not leukemia. Now I'm worried. She's been setting food out for him and my cats have been sharing in this food. In the last two weeks, two of my cat's have been ill. One spiked a really high temperature. They had FIV vaccine a few years back but haven't had it for a while, because it's not a big selling item, we haven't ordered it in a while. Now we'll definitely be ordering it in for my cats and her other two. We've also acquired another feral cat in the neighborhood recently as well. So, where am I leading?
Whether we want to admit or not, even our little town has a feral cat population. This may be good to keep the rodent population down but may not be so good for our pets. Feral cat populations may increase the likelihood that our kitties may be exposed to feline leukemia, feline aids, rabies and other fatal cat diseases. Of course Rabies is the biggest concern because it can be transmitted to dogs, horses, cattle, and humans through saliva in open sores and bite wounds. These cats live in abandoned houses and storm drains. Raccoons, bats, skunks, do in fact travel the alleys and streets of our town.
Feral cat populations can get out of control very quickly. Every litter can be between 3-7 kittens or more and cat can have a litter every 3-4 months. I've seen a cat come in to be spayed. She'd had kitten 5 weeks prior to being brought in and she was already 3 weeks pregnant. Female cats have their first heat cycle between 6-9 months of age. This means cats and their kittens can rapidly turn into 100,000 plus.
So how do we control our feral cat population? First thing that comes to mind would be to pick up your cat food outside. On a more widescale attempt, they've tried euthanasia and for every cat euthanized, there are so many more out there breeding and it also leads to rodent control issues. It just doesn't work. Dumping them outside of town doesn't work either, they go where the food is and that means returning to the town they came from. They've tried trap-neuter-return but there so many more out there breeding and each litter is 3-6+ kittens. I can guarantee the Humane Society will not take these cats because of the potential of being bitten and scratched. Feral cats are not adoptable, but young kittens can be socialized and adopted. The best method for controlling a feral cat population is a trap-neuter-return program. According to every site I googled, TNR programs help balance out feral cat colonies. But it takes time, money and effort.
Where are our feral cat colonies? East 5th, South Street, North Highway 83, Westridge and J street and I'm sure there are more.
Please check out the following links:
Humane Society of the US www.hsus.org/pets/issues_affecting_our_p...
Feline leukemia- http://www.healthypet.com/library_view.a...
Feline Aids- http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content...
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