Feral cats/Barn cats....

maureen1953(Z4 Central NY)November 3, 2002

Do any of you have personal experience with the trap/spay,neuter/release program for controlling feral cat populations? I would appreciate hearing what you have to say about it, it's effectiveness, level of work involved, mishaps, etc. Who do you contact to get started? Thanks- Maureen

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johanna_h(Z5 SW MI)

I don't have personal experience with this, but I have a friend who does. She was living in Pasadena CA and her yard was the favorite gathering place of the local feral cats. I know that she trapped at least four or five of them and took them in to be "fixed". Ultimately she kept two of the trapees, and moved them cross-country with her when she returned to Chicago.

One of them is a very affectionate female. The other is a spooky male who I have only seen under the bed, although he's lived inside with my friend for at least three years now. My friend claims that he comes out and sits in the same room with her when no one else is around.

Don't know if that's of any help to you or not!


    Bookmark   November 4, 2002 at 7:29AM
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Be very careful in dealing with feral cats. Some of them can be extremely mean (they're wild) and a cat bite is no laughing matter. They may not seem as serious as a dog bite, but your chances of infection are much higher.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2002 at 7:03PM
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We have spayed and nuetered 17 stray cats. almost every one of them has become a great pet. I highly recommend trying this. Some took a while to let us catch them. One actually has several small litters before we caught her. We started feeding her and sitting close while she ate, and eventually she was coming up to us. I used gloves and a towel to grab her and put her in the cage for transport.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2003 at 12:43PM
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kbeitz(NE Pa.)

Cat control ... Under cover...

Living on the edge...

    Bookmark   February 22, 2003 at 9:58PM
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    Bookmark   February 27, 2003 at 11:29AM
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I must addmit we dont bother with feral cats around here, we just get "rid" of them. I know it may sound harsh but there are so many!!!Alot of people from in town come out and drop cats, plus some farmers even think nothing of letting their mousing cats multiply. I dont think alot of people realize the terrible impact these cats have on our eco-system!! They kill the pheasants, spread desieses and go after my chickens on a regulaur basis. I feel bad for them, its not their falt, but we dont have the money or the time to be trying to catch several dozen cats to have them fixed. Plus it doesnt get rid of the original problem, their still going to go after the pheasants and my chickens!! When given the choice between my livestock and a feral cat....I choose my livestock.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2003 at 12:33PM
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madspinner(z7 WA skagit)

I used to work for a thrift shop that raised money for the Humane Society. There is usually some organization around that will spay/neuter stray cats for free or at a reduced rate. Check in the paper, on the internet and call your local Humane Society or local shelter.

When my mother had a stray cat problem in her suberban back yard we kept taking in litters of stray kittens and finding them homes. This isn't for everyone, as it sometimes requires bottle feeding the babies (if the babies are weaned it is often too late to tame them) but really did make a dent in the stray population. We got tierd of watching the cute fluffy kittens grow up only to be hit by cars or eaten by predators. I still have a couple of the cats I couldn't bear to part with.

Another thing one can do if the cats are tame is to simply take them to a local animal shelter. If you are worried they will be put to sleep, you can always volonteer to take them back if they don't get homes. No shelter wants to put animals to sleep. Really. If the cat is wild, don't do take them to the shelter. They won't be adoptable and will most likely have to be put to sleep.Although you might call and ask the shelter if they have anyone who would like barn cats. Some people do.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2003 at 8:33PM
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Shalom Maureen1953,

You said:

>>>Do any of you have personal experience with the trap/spay,neuter/release program for controlling feral cat populations? >>>

We have caught feral cats and tamed down three in all: one at three months and the other two at around six months. All three because they had not yet reach fertility age could be tamed fully but the older the cats are the harder they are to tame down and they need all the more patience. Also older cats never get fully tamed down so these make better barn cats. Still this only way we know of to get a first rate mousier and once taken in a well fed you've got a friend for life.

If you are still interested you will first need a special cage to catch them in and many farming stores have these for sale (can't remember the name). You'll also have to place this in a area that you know the cats frequent and food needs to be put in deeply and fixed so that they must go inside to getit. Further the cage should be covered to look less threatening.

Once you catch the cat you'll need a large cage (dog cages work great) and a box for privicy and privilage (it can be removed if cat is getting violent). Also a removal bottom is must for cleaning as for first few weeks you may not get too close depending on the cats age. Time is another important ingrediate and you need to be near them most of time at the beginning so they see, smell and hear from you and thus loose their fear. Lastly thick gloves are a must and Vet who is familier with ferral cats equally important to check them for feline licimea and rabbies (this should be done ASAP).

Lastly, we do know of a program as we helped a friend from local SPCA to get one going so if your human society doesn't have one they can be started (our examples above showed her that the claim cats can't be tamed is a farce). It is run by public donations (we donate) and also helps poor people get their cats fixed. Therefore if this is your interest our suggestion would be to contact your local SPCA and see if you find someone like our friend there.

C & C

    Bookmark   June 10, 2003 at 5:07PM
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every cat 've ever had was a 'drop-in' ranging from 'my old owners thought you had a nice house, so they let me out here' to 'I'm the first cat in 5 generations to have a permanent address' and I've never needed gloves, cages, or any thing special- but only the friendly ones ever walk in to my homes.

I WILL resort to wrapping them in a towel (a la James Herriot) to get them to the vets-

but I'm only half-tame myself.

I have never been overrun- but I'd cull all but the youngest cats if I had to.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2003 at 12:21PM
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get a have-a-heart trap and get those kitties neutered. The trap won't hurt them a bit. Look around..some animal welfare organizations will give you free or discount vouchers to have them neutered. One thing..we did this to a few cats and released them . Little by little, only one was left. So we trapped him AGAIN and said-TOUGH-now you're staying. We named him DC for downstairs cat-he never came out of the basement except at night. We NEVER touched him-he must've thought-Today's the day they're going to kill me! He was here over 2 1/2 years, then made a break for it through a broken window. we haven't seen him since :(

    Bookmark   July 21, 2003 at 10:33AM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

We have found homes for over two dozen cats (and have a baker's dozen of indoor ones now) - I can personally attest that most feral cats will tame nicely.

As far as environmental impact goes, feral cat colonies using the neuter and release tactic have not been shown to reduce the stray cat population effectively, and the cats, even if fed in a managed colony, have a significant negative impact on local bird and small animal populations. The National Wildlife Federation is running a program right now to educate people to the dangers feral cats pose to migratory birds.

I love cats, but the best thing for all concerned is to trap the feral cats, get them spayed (there are lots of options for low cost neutering in most areas - contact the local SPCA or humane society), and find them homes. If they are not adoptable, they should probably be put down. If they are released back into the wild, they will live a short, unhappy life in all probability and they will certainly decimate other bird and animal populations.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2003 at 9:25PM
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maureen1953(Z4 Central NY)

An update.....We (with the cooperation and financial help of the ASPCA) have trapped 11 of our twelve feral cats and have had them spayed/neutered and all of them are enjoying life in and around our barn. I disagree with jillmcm that they will live short, unhappy lives. You would have to see and observe these cats to know that they are very content with their life here. I'm sure they catch the occasional bird, but they are much more adept at keeping the mice, rat, mole population under control, which we see as a major advantage. We have adopted two of the cats as our house cats and they have made wonderful pets. Our barn cats are well fed, their health monitored by us, they have had their rabies shots, and they are an integral part of our homestead.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2003 at 10:53PM
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Here we have several organizations that help with the feral cat problem one is FERAL which traps and tames cats for adoption and another is Angels of Assissi which offers reasonable rates for neutering strays. Perhaps there are organizations like this where you live.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2003 at 10:26AM
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Twenty percent of feral cat kills are birds, especially ground nesting ones. As far as their mousing and ratting ability, they are better at catching our native field mice than the house mice or Norway rat.

Here is a link that might be useful: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONs ABOUT DOMESTIC CATS

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 11:57AM
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RuthieG__TX(z8 TX)

birdadv said...they are better at catching our native field mice than the house mice ...

and I would like to point out that the native field mice become the house mouse the minute we get the first chill...they head indoors...ask me how I know about that one...most bird lovers snicker at the mousing thing but I will tell you this...until I got cats...I was overrun with mice and two cats later and there is not a mouse in sight and no signs of them having been there...and no visible signs of the damage or small that they produce...

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 11:44AM
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