Do you have to deal with your wild neighborhood cat colony?
If you have feral cats in your community it is only natural to wonder if they are too cold, too hot, or hungry. And it is tempting to try to help them.
"Anyone who cares about a feral cat community is definitely a compassionate person who really tries to help animals," says Destiny Haney, the national embedding program manager at Best Friends Animal Society.
But fate warns that caring for a wildcat colony is not for the faint of heart. Wildcats need care and persistence in order to survive. No matter how well your desire for help is meant, you can do more harm than good if you cannot do both.
"Depending on the type of resources you want to devote to a colony, it could be a financial expense or a large investment of time, or both," says Destiny. "People have to think long and hard before caring about a colony."
She suggests considering these four Things before it comes to a wild cat colony.
Are you sure your neighborhood wild cats need help?
You may think that no one cares about a feral cat community, but that may not be the case.
"We find that most established colonies, as long as they look like they are in good shape, usually have someone to take care of them … and you may not need to take care of them," says Destiny. "That doesn't mean you still can't help them, but they may not be as badly needed as some people assume."
If you still want to help them, even when they may be cared for by another person or group of people, ask yourself why. You can fall back on this and remember a stressful day.
Can you consistently provide long-term care?
When you save a house cat, you promise to look after it for the rest of its life. The same applies to wildcat colonies. While we don't have accurate data on the average lifespan of ferals, these kittens will depend on you for food for their entire life. And feeding wild cats can be different than what you do for your little sofa lion.
If you have a house cat, you can have them fed all day for free. But Destiny suggests scheduling feedings for colonies. It is a commitment that requires being there at the same time each day.
“You are the sole caregiver for the cats, and if something happens to you (e.g.) you change jobs or move, what happens to these cats and who will look after them? Or even if you are on vacation who will take care of these cats? “Fate says it all.
Think about whether you have someone who can help you out on vacation or who can stand in for you if you move. Unlike a house cat, you can't bring a Ferale with you when you leave town for good.
Can you return neutrals and provide medical expenses?
If you are doing one thing for a wildcat colony, you're helping trap neuter return (or TNR).
“This is the best thing you can do for an outdoors cat, if you want to help them, whether or not you can commit to full-time grooming, but especially when you want to feed them … because the more you feed them, the more the more they breed, "says Destiny.
The costs vary. Some clinics may offer TNR services at little or no cost. Rescue groups and shelters can also help offset the cost. Best Friends Animal Society offers support in some areas.
If you pay out of pocket it can cost anywhere from $ 70 to $ 80 per cat.
Also, Unlike house cats, ferals do not live in a protective bubble. You are at a higher risk of illness and injury.
"Nobody normally covers it," warns Destiny. "If you can't provide these, can you work with rescue groups and neighbors to provide care?"
Can you be a good neighbor
The people in the church may not be as generous as you are when it comes to Ferale. The food can attract other animals and flies and endanger other animals such as small dogs or cats both indoors and outdoors.
Fate advises against starting a colony no matter where you live. However, if you want to take care of an established one, minimize discomfort and potential calls for animal control by taking some sensible action.
"It's really important that the caregiver respects this and tries to make the cats good neighbors and the person a good neighbor by cleaning up clutter and not leaving any trash around," says Destiny.
TNR also plays a good role as a neighbor.
"I think people tend to worry when they see kittens," says Destiny. "Nobody wants to see kittens in dumpsters."
Featured image: ablokhin / Getty Images
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