Saving the lives of feral cats

Saving the lives of feral cats  

I got interested in feral cats when some friends of mine told me about catching them and turning them over to a vet for medical help and adoption. So I looked up what I could find on the internet about these creatures in general.

First of all a recent British study told me the worldwide population of felis sylvestris catus (domestic cats as we know them) is about 272 million of which about 59 percent are feral (free living and non-domesticated). http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1098612X13481034

I read further and found out that feral cats came originally from wild cats being domesticated by the Egyptians long ago to keep rats from grain storage. Over centuriest the practice expanded to farms in Europe and to keeping ships free of rats. Some of the offspring of these domesticated cats reverted back to the wild and formed colonies. These are the feral cats of today.

The British study also examined the methods to help feral cats. It was discovered that kittens up to the age of 4 months can be domesticated, with some good results in older cats. Some therapy seems to be making sure the cats are neutered and that the colonies are supported with food and medical care. The urgency of these methods is the continuing predatory feeding by these feral cats on other wildlife including wild birds. Birding groups are alarmed at the wild bird destruction by cats. Our old cartoon friend Tweety is in serious trouble.

Essentially, to save the lives of feral cats we have to catch them when we can and turn them over to wildlife rescue folks. At that point they are often neutered and marked as neutered by nipping a part of the ear, then returned to the wild. Some are kept for safe domestic homes if they are young enough to be trained.

Expensive traps and cages are not required. What is needed is love for these animals. Here are pictures of successful cages to set up in your backyard to help these animals. A lot of love and patience is needed.

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Figure one: Note the clever tipped up cages that can convince the cats to stop by and say hello. Just set up a little bit of wood, a piece of screen and an upright stick that can be pulled away to keep the cat inside.

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Figure two. Here’s some feral kittens on their way to medical care at

A local vet. If they are lucky they’ll find a domestic home away from the dangers of the forest.

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Figure three:   No one can say that feral cats aren’t lovable.

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Figure four. At the vet clinic.

 

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