What is a feral cat?

A feral cat is an untamed domestic housecat who was either born outside or who was abandoned and over time has become unsocialized to people. Feral cats are frightened of people and avoid contact whenever possible. Feral kittens can be tamed, but usually adult feral cats are not able to be socialized.

What is a stray cat?

A stray cat is a cat who has strayed from home—often in search of a mate—and become lost, or was abandoned. Stray cats may be friendly or may have become wary of people. Their offspring may be feral. Because stray cats have had human contact, they are less frightened of people than feral cats are and can usually be socialized and adopted into a home.

Who is a caregiver?

A caregiver is person who has taken responsibility for a feral cat or colony of cats. The caregiver is committed to feeding the cats on a permanent basis, ensures they are spayed/neutered, may provide additional shelter and provides ongoing healthcare as needed.

What is TNR?

TNR is a humane approach to ending feral cat overpopulation and will improve the lives of the cats. FCCO has live traps available and trapping instructions to guide you through successful trapping. Additional resources on how to help feral cats can be found on the Alley Cat Allies website.

What is a humane trap?

Humane or live traps do not cause any pain to the animal being trapped. The traps are metal wire boxes with a trip plate inside. When a cat enters the trap and steps on the plate, the wire door closes behind the cat trapping him/her inside.

There is a stray/feral cat living in my neighborhood. Will you come get him/her?

None of the ASAP partners trap and remove cats. We recommend you contact your neighbors and post signs in your neighborhood to see if the cat has a home. If no home is located you may consider taking the cat to a local animal shelter, placing the cat on your own, or taking responsibility for the cat.

What to do if a cat shows up in your yard, workplace or place you frequent.

If the cat is clearly tame and approachable, but with no ID, please take the cat to a veterinarian to scan for a microchip and check for neutering. Most vets, even if they don’t know you as a client, will scan for the chip and also do a quick shave of a female’s belly to look for a spay scar. With males it is usually pretty obvious. If there is no chip, or no traceable owner in the chip database, then you need to start looking for the kitty’s home right away.
You can start by running an ad in the paper or on Craigslist, file a report with the local animal control jurisdiction, put up flyers around the area, and ask all your neighbors if anybody recognizes the cat or knows somebody who’s lost one. If the cat seems to be well cared for, you can also make a collar and write with permanent pen, “If this is your cat, please call XXX-XXXX.” You will also need to read all the “lost pet” ads and flyers that you come across. If you don’t get any responses in the first couple weeks, chances are you never will; unfortunately most people don’t look very long or hard for their cats. If the cat has been altered, someone may care enough to look for it, but if not, it’s pretty unlikely that anyone will make the effort.

If you don’t locate an owner, you have to decide what to do with the kitty. You may consider taking the cat to a shelter or humane society, but keep in mind that most facilities are frequently full and the cat may not be able to find a home. If the shelters and rescue groups are full, then try to either find a home for the kitty yourself, or arrange foster care until a space opens up at a shelter. If you can get the kitty fixed, vaccinated and feeling and looking good, you’ll have a much better chance of finding a home.

If the cat is clearly feral or extremely frightened, make sure the cat has access to plenty of food and shelter without having to get close to you or any other cats. If s/he is eating the food and still hanging around after a week, contact FCCO about bringing the cat in to be spayed/neutered. If the cat appears to be sick or injured, trap the cat and take him/her to a vet as soon as possible.

Sometimes the ones who seemed feral will turn out to be quite sociable and even adoptable after they are altered. Use the same procedure to try to find them homes. If they are really feral, continue to provide food and water. If you can’t provide this, pursue finding a barn or other location for the cat and follow relocation instructions on the Alley Cat Allies website (www.alleycat.org) to make the relocation as successful as possible.

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