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Feral, Colony Cats or Free-roaming? | What to Do With Feral Cats? | The Vacuum Effect |

What Is A Community Cat?

The cats that you see in and around shopping centers, alleys, restaurants and even residential areas are cats who have been abandoned. People may think cats can survive on their own. Unfortunately, they face extreme hazards from starvation, predation, disease and injury.

Many abandoned cats are often pregnant or were not spayed or neutered before they were abandoned. Soon, the female cats will have kittens -- and their kittens will have kittens. These second-, third- and fourth-generation cats become wild and very fearful of humans. These cats are called FERALS and often cannot be domesticated. The sad reality is that these cats can reproduce at rapid rates. In just seven years, one female cat, her mate and all of their kittens can produce 470,000 offspring!

Feral, Colony Cats or Free-roaming?

Most cat colonies consist of a mixture of ferals, "semi-ferals" and domesticated drop-offs. The 100% feral colonies exist, but they are not the majority. Many colony cats approachable by their "feeders" tame down significantly after neutering, to the point where quite a few can be considered domesticated enough for adoption. Many others "settle" into calmer temperaments and become less flighty than before. They don't want to be someone's couch potato, but they're no longer poisoned by hormones and the stress that comes with being an intact animal.

What to Do With Feral Cats?

The Vacuum Effect:

Trapping and killing feral cats has been the traditional method of feral cat control. However, this method has been shown to be ineffective, as the food source usually remains (dumpsters, rodents, etc.) and any remaining cats in the area will quickly repopulate


Trap, Neuter and Return or TNR is the most successful and proven method of reducing feral cat populations. TNR involves carefully trapping the cats, spaying and neutering them and returning them to their original location. Cats that are social enough to be adopted are placed into new homes. The colony thus stabilizes, fighting diminishes and populations can be reduced through natural attrition.

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