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Feral and Community Cat Information


At this time, Al-Van does NOT have a "TNR" (Trap-Neuter-Release) Program, and we are unable to take in feral cats (we can't handle them and are thus unable to provide necessary care).

What is a feral cat?

A feral cat is any cat that is too poorly socialized to be handled and cannot be placed into a home. Most feral cats live in groups known as colonies near homes or businesses where people feed them.

Where do feral cats come from?

Feral cats are the offspring of lost or abandoned cats or other feral cats who are not spayed or neutered. Females can reproduce two to three times a year. Thier kittens, if they survive, will become feral without early contact with people. Cats can become pregnant as early as four to five months of age and the number of cats in a colony rapidly increases unless the cats are spayed and neutered.

Can't I just move the cats to a different location?

Relocating feral cats is a difficult and time-consuming process. Moving cats from one colony to another is very stressful to the cats and is rarely successful. The few sanctuaries in existence that house feral cats fill up rapidly and the quality of care is variable. Allowing the cats to remain in their "home" colony through a TNR program is the most humane and simple, and cares for the largest number of cats with the fewest resources.

If you are able to contact a/your local vet, trap the cat, and bring it into the vet to be spayed/neutered, then re-releasing it to its colony, this is the best solution to the cat colonies and overpopulation

What should I do about the feral cats in my neighborhood or where I work?

The most effective way of dealing with feral cats is through a process called TNR or Trap-Neuter-Release. Cats in a cologne are trapped in a humane trap, taken to a clinic where they are spayed or neutered and vaccinated, and then returned to their colony. This process improves the quality of life for feral cats, reduces their numbers, and reduces the nuisance behaviors associated with mating.

Will Al-Van Humane Society help me trap feral cats?

No, we do not have the personnel to assist with trapping. Trapping is done by good-hearted volunteer care-givers or organizations who have their own, established program. We can provide some information regarding this process and contacts that may be able to help further.

What is a managed colony?

Feral cat colonies require ongoing care. A feral colony caregiver monitors the colony for newcomers who are either born into the colony, "dumped," or wander in from nearby. The newcomers and nay unsterilized cats are then trapped, neutered, and returned. The caregiver also provides continued food, water, and shelter to all colony cats. 

Why shouldn't I just trap and remove the cats from an area? 

Trapping and removing cats rarely works to reduce a feral cat population. Feral cats live in a certain location because they have found the food and shelter they need. If feral cats are removed from the area, cats from surrounding colonies move in to take advantage of the newly available resources and start the cycle of reproducing and nuisance behavior all over again. In addition, if any of the cats in a colony are left behind, they tend to have more kittens that survive to adulthood because of the reduced competition, and the population rapidly regains its former size.

Where do I get humane traps?

Traps can be purchased at feed stores like Tractor Supply and through various online resources, including Tomahawk Live Trap, Havahart Animal Traps, and Heart of the Earth Animal Equipment.

What is ear-tipping?

Ear-tipping is the removal of the distal one-quarter of a cat's left ear. Ear-tipping is the preferred method to identify spayed or neutered and vaccinated feral cats, because it is difficult to get close to feral cats and therefor the identification must visible from a distance. Feral cats may interact with a variety of caregivers, veterinarians and animal control personnel during their lifetimes and so immediate visual identification is necessary to prevent an unnecessary second trapping and surgery. 

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