Feral cats are typically the offspring of stray cats. Because they were never socialized with people, they are completely wild and cannot be handled. If you have a feral cat colony living near your property, there are local resources that can help you deal with the problem.
Attempt to feed a cat for several days and see if it is truly feral. A stray or lost cat may become more comfortable with people after several days of feeding, which means it can be re-homed by a local humane society. If the cat is feral, getting used to feeding may make it easier to trap the cat in the future.
Contact the humane societies and shelters in your area to see if there are any programs to control feral cat populations in your area.
Look for a local “Trap, Neuter, Return” program. TNR programs help communities trap and sterilize feral cats in an attempt to stop population growth.
Check with the TNR program to find out where you can borrow or rent traps. Because there are many grants available for TNR programs, you should be able to borrow the traps at a very low cost or with just a deposit.
Schedule an appointment with the TNR program for surgeries. If you have a large feral cat population, you might want to set appointments on several different days to bring in animals as you trap them.
Trap the feral cats, particularly the dominant males if possible. Ask for a demonstration on using the traps before taking them home, and discuss tips and techniques for trapping the animals with the organization. You may even be able to take a free TNR class to get you started.
Follow all the post-operation directions provided for the animals and then return them to their colony.
Keep an eye on the colony to see if any new animals join the group. Continuing to trap and spay or neuter the new cats will keep reducing the feral cat population in the area.
- There is not an easy, short-term solution for dealing with a feral cat problem. Feral cat colonies typically develop in an area because of the resources and space available to them.
Kimberly A. Smith has been a freelance writer for two years. She graduated from the University of California at Davis and the California Culinary Academy, then pursued a career baking wedding cakes. During her time at CCA, she received certification in nutrition and food safety. She currently attends the University of Oregon School of Law.