What can you do ?

You can be a Colony Caretaker:

What Is a Colony Caretaker?

A colony caretaker is an individual (or group of individuals) who manages one or more feral colonies in a community. The caretaker keeps an eye on the cats, providing food, water, shelter, spaying/neutering andemergency medical care. In most cases, organizations and vets know these people because of the community service they provide. Some shelters and rescue groups even give out free or low-cost spay/neuter coupons to colony caretakers.

How Can I Become a Colony Caretaker?

Alley Cat Allies, founded in 1990, offers a wealth of information on TNR, feral cat care and advocacy. Here are some key pointers on becoming a colony caretaker:

  • Offer your help to established colony caretakers. Ongoing needs include feeding, trapping, transportation to and from the veterinarian,temporary housingfor cats after surgery, and fostering and socializing kittens for the purpose of finding them good homes.

  • Contact local shelters or welfare groups to see if a TNR workshop is available in your area.

  • Start with the cats in your own backyard—educate yourself about TNR and learn to trap cats and have them spayed or neutered

What you can do

Becoming a Colony Caretaker has it's rewards. You are doing something positive in a hard situation.

But before you take on this Labor of Love, it's a good idea to take a Feral trapping class. Educate yourself about the pro's and con's of helping these little guys.

Good choices for education are :

Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society At :

www.DPVHS.org

And

Our Companions Domestic Animal Sanctuary At :

www.ourcompanions.org

This is just a few local places. there are many more if you do some research.

Google " helping feral cats "

If you decide to start trapping on your own, make sure you do a few things first.

Educate yourself.

You need to know local laws about Trapping.

A good idea is to mark your trap with your contact information so someone see's your trap knows what your doing.

If you catch a wild animal, you must release him on the spot you trapped him.

NEVER NEVER leave a trap set that you are not watching, it's ok to leave but you need to return quickly.

A Feral could hurt themselves in the Trap, thats why we cover them.

Watching the trap will help you catch the Females.

Males always seem to check things out first, they are easy to trap.

Females are more shy, they let the Males make sure it's safe first.

Please, there is much information on-line about this.

Educate yourself.

Trap, Neuter and Return


How to Trap & Release a Feral Catthumbnail

The Programs

Though the programs will vary from city to city and from state to state, the goal of every trap, neuter and release group, (often shortened to TNR), is the same. They are all intended to reduce the stray cat population in a given area. On a regular basis, cats are going to be humanely trapped, taken to a vet and then spayed or neutered. After they have had the operation, they will be returned to the wild without the ability to produce more kittens. While this does not eliminate the problem entirely, it does ensure that no new kittens are produced and that the problem does not become exponentially larger.

The overall goal of the TNR programs are to reduce the number of feral cats and then to hopefully eliminate cat colonies through natural attrition. A cat colony is simply a population of feral or stray cats that live and hunt together in a specific area. These colonies usually begin when a few unsterilized, domesticated, cats join together after either being abandoned by their owners, lose their way home after roaming around outside, or are born in the wild.

Cat colonies can exist with just a few cats or a few hundred cats. The greater the food source that exists for all of the cats in the colony to feed from, then the larger the colony will be.

There are currently more than 60 million feral cats in the United States today. According to the ASCPCA: “Feral females spend most of their lives pregnant or nursing. In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can yield 420,000 cats.”

The Pro’s

In the first place, this is far more humane and positive solution than simply killing all feral cats when they are caught, which some cities have advocated. The cats will be allowed to live and their breeding is curtailed, thanks to the neutering. This also means that the feral colonies that might be living in the area are going to get smaller and smaller as time goes on. By stabilizing the feral cat population via spaying and neutering, those cats will have access to more food, shelter and less risks of catching diseases.

It also frees the city from needing to take on care and feeding for feral cats; because many of these cats are born wild rather than having ever lived in a human home, their chances for being adopted as pets is much lower. In many ways, feral cats are wild animals and they would be more satisfied on their own.

The Con’s

In the first place, TNR programs do not take the cats off the streets permanently. In fact, TNR programs tend to be a permanent fixture once they exist because pet cats do escape and people do still abandon them. There is also a concern for vet costs, though they are lower than what it would take to foster the cats. There is also a perception of the problem being glossed over, rather than solved. Many people feel that this solution will not go far enough.

Some wildlife advocates also believe that feral cat colonies are to blame for a reduction in the local bird and wildlife. Another concern is that since not every, single feral cat can and will be trapped and then spayed or neutered, they can still pose a health risk to humans and other animals.

Taming Feral Kittens

You can also Tame kittens so they can be Adopted.

How Can I Help Feral Kittens?

It is important to trap feral kittens and, whenever possible, foster and socialize them until they are old enough to be adopted out. “Once born, they struggle to survive,” Christian says. “Their mortality rate is very high because of all the challenges of life outside on the streets."

How Do I Tame Feral Kittens?

The Urban Cat Leagueis a great resource for information on socializing feral kittens, if you have the time and energy to dedicate to the task. Here are some tips to help you along:

  • Whenever possible, kittens should continue to nurse until four weeks old—this can be done in captivity.
  • Do not let feral kittens run loose—they can hide in tiny spaces and are exceptionally difficult to find and catch.
  • Confine the kittens in a dog crate, cat condo or cage with a small litter box, food, water and something snuggly to cuddle in.
  • Food is the key to socializing. Give the kittens a small amount of wet food by hand at least twice a day—eventually the kittens will associate your presence with food. For those who are more feral, start by offering baby food or wet food on a spoon through the cage.
  • Younger and less feral kittens can be picked up right away. Make a kitty burrito by wrapping a kitten in a towel, allowing her head to stick out.
  • Once the kittens no longer run away from you but instead come toward you seeking to be fed, held and petted, you can confine them to a small room.
  • Be sure to expose the kitten to a variety of people.
  • Do not forget about the mom—spaying her is essential as well.