Monday, February 12, 2007

Feral Cat Reflections

What a couple of weeks it's been! After realizing the large amount of stray and feral cats living in the community, I decided to start trapping. It's important to realize differences between stray and feral cats. Feral cats do not want to be captured and act much like the typical wild animal. Strays and or semi-feral cats have lived with humans and will most likely be able to be rehabilitated and adopted. It's often hard to decipher, but after trapping, you will be able to tell the difference. If a cat is willing to allow you to touch it and scruff it, it has known human affection and you will not have to trap this animal in the normal fashion. All of them are waiting for us to reach out to them in any way that we can ~ through advocacy, trapping, adoption, and or foster care. It can seem overwhelming and while it may be, take it one step at a time. That's what I'm learning to do with these all of the cats that enter my life in one way or another.

Trapping should not be gone about lightly. Experience is needed and you should have a plan of action once the animals is trapped. Where will the animal go? Plans will need to be made to contact us or the local shelter in your area. Make sure that a plan is in place and that you're able to reach out to people experienced in this area. Trap, Neuter, Release is a great option if you are able to simultaneously set up feeding areas, shelters for winter time and volunteers are able to commit to feeding. It's a lengthy process, but it can be done. We, at the sanctuary, have recently received a grant to begin a program where we can trap, neuter, and release ferals who simply are not able to live inside with humans. We will update everyone via e-mail when we begin to recruit for this program and hope that all of you will reach out to us with concerns regarding the welfare of cats in your own communties. All of the ferals that we trap will be spayed, neutered and vaccinated. It's a great program that we are excited to start.

If trapping independently, make sure that the animal that you are trapping does not belong to someone. This will take inquiry and you will need to contact shelters to list any cats found. It's important to do this because many persons simply allow their animals to roam. Others have lost cats many weeks, months, or years ago. Reaching out and communicating that you have found a cat in need is therefore very important. I was able to successfully trap six cats this week and while some were feral, others definitely were not and will hopefully be adoptable in the near future.

On a personal note, I decided to foster/adopt one of the cats that I rescued a few weeks back. Noone has claimed her through the local shelter, so I felt it was a good idea togive her a chance. She is timid and wary of my intentions, but I believe that she will eventually feel comfortable in her new surroundings. She doesn't know me very well yet, but with love and time, she will be a wonderful family addition.

I am still working through many of the issues of trapping and working with cats, but I am excited that the sanctuary will be taking a huge and positive step towards helping these animals. We are very thrilled! If anyone needs assistance with trapping or has any questions, or would just like some support, please contact Shanon at I am learning a lot through my immediate frequent experiences and can offer support to anyone dealing with the same issues and concerns in his or her own community. We will keep all of you updated on the program as it develops and thank all of those who offer continued support!