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Feral Cats

One Solution

By Deborah Dobich Marchionda

Monday, October 26, 2015

Feral cats (sometimes referred to as strays) are the sad result of irresponsible adults who have not spayed or neutered their domestic cats. They have been allowed to roam freely or are abandoned in neighborhoods, resulting in unwanted kittens and homeless adults. Succeeding generations are born in our cities, under the most horrendous conditions. With little opportunity to bond with humans, they struggle for survival, reproducing at random. Contrary to popular belief, cats do not fend well for themselves. Many will gravitate to humans for relief from starvation and some will become household pets.

Random surveys in our cities, by recognized organizations, have concluded that in any given area, four to fifty feral cats or more live in close proximity throughout our neighborhoods, public and industrial areas. Statistics over the past years have revealed that no one has successfully removed all feral cats in any one area, in an attempt at eradication. Every possible inhumane way that man could devise has been tried to exterminate feral cats and kittens, and all have failed miserably. Feral cats and kittens form colonies (families) near humans and raid garbage cans, eat discarded food, beg for food or prey on rodents. They are present everywhere throughout our cities and many industrial sites keep them for rodent control without population control.

There is only one proven, successful way to reduce the population and dramatically reduce births, and that is the method of humane non-lethal, trap, neuter and return, with managed long-term care by a caretaker.


In an attempt to "get rid of the cats", trapping and killing is usually the first line of defense. However, not every cat can be trapped and other cats in the immediate vicinity will claim the vacated territory. The surrounding areas are also home to feral cats who were born there. Some of the cats in the immediate areas will also include unaltered, owner-owned domestic outdoor cats that have not been spayed or neutered.

Since it is not possible to remove all cats from any territory, those remaining and the new cats entering the territory, who have not been spayed or neutered will continue to reproduce. In a short period of time with no humane population control in place, the area will be repopulated. This unsuccessful, uneducated approach has resulted in the endless and needless suffering we now have in our cities. A no-win situation occurs when feral cats living in well managed colonies, that have been spayed and neutered, are trapped and destroyed. Cats have been here for centuries and will continue to be here. It is up to us to address their plight with responsible compassion.

TNR Handbooks


Trapping Supplies

Recommended Supplies to have on hand at all times:

  • At least 2 traps:  36” X 11” X 12” with rear door

  • At least 1 smaller trap on hand for kittens

  • 2 Trap Dividers

  • Covers (blankets/sheets) for traps

  • Incontinence bed pads or newspaper for traps

A trap kit:

  • Thick gloves

  • Paper towels

  • Small paper plates

  • Plastic spoons

  • Plastic shopping bags or large zip lock bags to use for garbage

  • Canned smelly cat food/tuna/salmon or other for bait

  • Cat nip (optional.  Some people use this and some don't)

  • Zip ties and/or snap bolts (in case of problems with a trap)

  • Scissors/knife (to remove zip ties if necessary)

  • Tape or clips to hold newspaper down on windy days

  • A tarp/bed pads to line your car seat prior to placing the cats on them

  • A blanket or towel to cover the trap


What is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) ?

How to take care of feral cat colonies

Make a winter shelter

for feral cats

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