These cats are often seen as a nuisance and a threat to domestic cats living in the area.
In some places they are looked upon as an asset, controlling unwanted vermin and can even be a tourist attraction, think of the cats in Greece!
But where do they come from and how do we deal successfully and humanely with this man made problem?
What is the difference between a stray and feral cat?
- these cats are socialized, enjoy human contact but have lost their home or were abandoned
- as their contact with humans dwindles over time they will become less dependant on and wary of people
- they can be successfully rescued and re-homed
- these cats are usually the offspring of strays
- they have never had human contact as kittens and are therefore fearful of people
- they have only ever survived outdoors
- FERAL KITTENS CAN be socialized if rescued at an early age
- Feral cats are blamed for needless hunting but actually are not able to survive on hunting alone
HOW DO WE CONTROL THE PROBLEM?
Once again there are differing opinions as to how to deal with communities of cats living on the streets. There are those who advocate euthanasia as the only solution in controlling the problem but research has shown that fortunately this is not the answer. As soon as a population on cats is
removed another group will move into the territory. We, and many organisations around the world prefer to promote the TNR (trap, neuter, release) method of control.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Here in Cape Town we work with the Cat Trapping and Sterilization Network. The CTSN trap feral and stray cats, have them sterilized by various veterinarians and then either release them back onto the street or where possible re-home them. The CTSN also feed and monitor feral cat colonies and
will trap any animal that appears sick or debilitated. This is an important part of controlling a feral colony.
JUST FEEDING A STRAY CAT COLONY DOES NOT HELP BUT MAY WORSEN THE PROBLEM.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP?
- If you have a stray cat or a number of stray cats in your neighbourhood that are causing a problem contact the CTSN. It may take time but they should be able to trap and sterilize the cats and release them or rehome them.
- Sterilize your cats - be a responsible owner
- If you are feeding a 'stray' cat already, check that it is sterilized or have it sterilized - be a responsible caregiver. If you need help contact the CTSN.
- DONATE! Time, money, food to the CTSN they do truly amazing work
- Stray and feral cats exist because we have let our feline friends down!
- Feral cats can be successfully reintroduced into the environment they came from
- In some cases feral cats can be relocated to areas that need pest control
- Most feral cats will always be wild and will never be happy in a home
- Sterilized feral cats can lead a long healthy life and will not be a threat to domestic cats
- For more information look contact june bradbury at www.cattrapping.co.za.
Kenilworth Vet, Harfield Village