What are Feral Cats?
It all starts when an un-neutered cat is abandoned or runs away. These cats survive by hunting and accepting handouts when they are lucky enough to find them. They are attracted to areas where there is shelter and food. If conditions are right others will move in. As these cats produce kittens, the colony grows and some will leave to colonize other areas. Year after year the cycle continues.
How Do Feral Cat Programs Help?
Feral cat rescue programs like this one conduct regularly scheduled trap/neuter/vaccinate/release (TNVR) clinics. Caretakers who feed and sometimes shelter feral cats use humane traps borrowed from us to capture the cats and bring them to the clinic. The cats are spayed or neutered, treated for parasites and vaccinated. They are then released back into their colony.
Absolutely NO PETS are allowed into the program. Only cats with a source of food but no "formal address" or owner may participate. These are kitties eking out existences on farms, in inner city neighborhoods, and around small businesses. Without assistance they are subject to an endless cycle of pregnancy, disease and malnutrition. At best, someone may romanticize their lives in poetry someday. At worst, they are a shameful legacy to the humans who abandon them.
Why Trap Neuter Vaccinate and Release?
TNVR programs work better than programs that trap and euthanize or adopt out cats because:
- There simply aren't enough good adoptive homes for all the cats in Central New York and many feral cats would not make good pets. They are not socialized to humans and they prefer their independence.
- Elimination of cats from a colony only makes way for more to take their place. If conditions are desirable, a stray cat will move in. Few colonies are totally eliminated this way.
- A colony of neutered cats will not grow. Cats are territorial. The presence of healthy neutered animals will discourage other ferals from moving in. Neutered cats are less likely to fight among themselves, contract disease, and spray urine. They make better neighbors and in time may be more likely to socialize with humans and find a home.
- The problem is self-perpetuating. If unspayed females are allowed to have one litter of five kittens per year, one cat will be responsible for producing 350 cats in just four years!
Volunteers are always welcome for the many different tasks of the TNVR clinics. Clinics are held once a month, generally March - December, always on a Sunday. The work is very rewarding and at the end of the day you will know that you have made a huge difference in the lives of these cats, and in the mission to alleviate the over-population problem. Volunteers are trained for various areas, ranging from admissions to recovery. We always are looking for Veterinarians and Veterinarian Technicians to help in the actual surgeries. But we also need volunteers to monitor cats after surgery and for other tasks such as record keeping and cage cleaning. Please call the Spring Farm CARES office for more information, at (315) 737-9339.
Easy to Make Feral Cat Shelter
This shelter is very effective and incredibly easy to make. It uses a 30 gallon plastic tote with lid (such as a Rubbermaid tote) and styrofoam. You can buy large pieces of styrofoam insulation and cut them to size or use a simple styrofoam cooler to assemble this. Then simply add straw to help keep them warm. Click on the photo below to download the plans in PDF form.