A Guide To Finding A Home For Feral Cats
Feral cats can be a big problem in urban areas. Through this video, learn about how to treat feral cats and find a better home for them.
Hi, my name is Karen. I'm one of the vets at Cats Protection, the UK's leading cat welfare charity, and I'm going to talk to you today about some aspects of cat care. Hi, I'm going to give you a short guide today on how to find a good home for feral cats.
First of all, we need to define what a feral cat is and a feral cat is something that is actually quite different from that feisty domestic cat. A feral is when it has been born in the wild and in essence, is a wild animal similar to foxes or wild rabbits and badgers and for these animals, it actually can be detrimental to their mental health and physical health to be held in captivity. It can be seen as cruel and is quite bad for them.
The reason that this is, is because during the socialization period which is between birth and about 12 weeks of age for cats, that is the time when kittens learn what is normal and what is okay and what is fatal in their life. If a cat hasn't had positive interaction with people during that socialization period up to about 12 weeks of age, then they will be quite scared of people for the rest of their life and so it can be really detrimental to them to have interaction with people after that. So what makes a good home for a feral cat? Feral cats can live quite happily out in the wild and an out of doors lifestyle so it kind of places it suitable to things like farmyards, stable yards, places like that where they can live and hunt and roam at their will.
Feral cats do still need a level of care though; they still need a place for shelter, to sleep and they actually do better if they're fed. A lot of people don't think you'll need to feed feral cats; especially if you are keeping them in the area for things like vermin control and things like that but it has actually been proven that cats will hunt better and do better at controlling vermin and rodents and things like that if they are well fed and healthy. The most important thing you need to remember with feral cats is they will be happier and healthier if they are neutered.
Because of this, Cats Protection and many other welfare organizations and veterinarian organizations recommend trap, neuter and return policies where resources allow. This is because if you neuter the cats, then you are going to control the population and that's obviously the most important thing. You don't want the population to get out of control.
Also, if the cats are going to be constantly breeding, there can be lots of disease risks or problems that can happen as well. Pregnancy and lactation carry their own risks but also in populations where there are a lot of breeding queens and a lot of unattached toms that are fighting, there are a lot of diseases that can spread around also. If you have a neutered, stable population of cats in the area, then you are also going to mean that other cats can't move in.
If you remove cats from one area and the resource is still there or the food source is still there whether it be vermin or whatever, then other cats will move in so removing cats from an area isn't going to solve your problem. Cats are very territorial and that's why it is a trap, neuter and return policy that we talk about. The return is really important.
Cats need to go back to their home area. So there may be situations where trapping, neutering and returning the cat to its area is not possible and the cat may need to be moved. In this situation, it is really important to find a suitable feral place.
That means an outdoor place with some shelter where that cat can be so farmyards, stable yards, gardens, places like that. It is important that the cat is moved to that location as soon after neutering as possible. Keeping feral cats in confinement is really detrimental to their mental health: it causes them an extreme amount of stress and suffering so it is very important to get them released back into the wild where they belong.
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