Stray and Feral Cats
Stray and feral cats comprise the largest source of animals entering area shelters. Because of their aversion to human contact, these cats are not candidates for adoption, and are ultimately euthanized, because they must compete with better socialized pets turned in by owners. SHELTERS ARE NOT THE PLACE FOR FERAL CATS, but many residents, are unaware of other options.
Trap Neuter Return (TNR)
A popular, growing alternative to the “trap to remove” method of animal control is Trap-Neuter-Return, or TNR, where feral and stray cats are trapped, surgically sterilized, and re-released into their original neighborhoods to provide pest control without the fear of reproducing. TNR was introduced to the United States by Alley Cat Allies, a national group that advocates for feral cats. TNR has been proven to:
- Stabilize populations,
- Improve cat health,
- Eliminate problem behaviors such as fighting, spraying and howling,
- Provides communities with the rodent and snake control that healthy cat colonies provide
- Curbs the tide of animals entering area shelters, where most are euthanized.
Trap Neuter Release
- Enlists community volunteers in a comprehensive program,
- Costs one-third to one-half as much as trap-and-remove efforts,
- And is a humane solution.
In a city such as New Orleans with a near tropical climate, animals breed year round resulting in an alarming number of unwanted, homeless animals. It is estimated New Orleans has one of the largest feral cat populations in the United States, approaching 350,000. When you consider two breeding cats and all their offspring produces 420,000 cats in just 7 years, the need for sterilization is apparent. Spaymart’s mission has always been to help people get their animals spayed and neutered in an effort to reduce euthanasia rates.
In October 1999 SpayMart launched its first public awareness campaign regarding feral cats entitled “Neuter Scooter”, offering low-cost spaying and neutering for feral and stray cats. Since that first year, SpayMart’s Neuter Scooter Campaign has sterilized approximately 8,000 free-roaming feral cats.
Frequently Asked Questions
My neighbors are complaining about the cats. What can I do?
Ask your neighbors the specific reason(s) behind their complaints. Often, complaints are easily refuted with the proper information. For example, if a cat is soiling the neighbors’ gardens, place sand in an out-of-the-way area or keep litter boxes at the colony site, keep the litter area clean, and offer repellents. If neighbors voice health concerns, make sure that the cats are up to date with their vaccinations. Keep the cats’ medical records in order and offer to share this information with your neighbors.
Where Do Feral Cats Come From?
Many people erroneously believe that cats can fend for themselves. Cat owners often abandon their cats when they move or simply no longer want the responsibility of pet ownership. Such cats survive only if they find food, shelter, and avoid dangers such as injury from cars, dogs, other cats, or abusive humans. They are rarely spayed or neutered, and their offspring are raised without human contact. Within a few years, one or two cats can produce a colony of twenty or more.