Part of Ireland's TNR Manual
How to Help Community Cats
Adapted from Alley Cat Allies' brochure.
A feral cat is not socialised to humans
Though feral cats are the same species as companion cats and are typically fearful of humans.
Feral cats should not be taken to animal control pounds and shelters
Feral cats’ needs are not met by the current animal control and rescue system, because animals who are not adoptable are often killed. Feral cats live outside, but are killed in many SPCAs and other rescues. Even no-kill shelters are not always able to place feral cats in homes. However, TNR groups can be successful in rehoming feral cats as Barn Cats, but relocation is only used as a last resort.
Feral kittens can be adopted
Feral kittens can often be adopted into homes, but they must be socialised at an early age (see Socialising Feral Kittens). There is a critical window, and if they aren’t handled in time, they will remain feral and therefore unadoptable.
Feral cats can have the same lifespan as companion cats
And they are just as healthy, too. The incidence of disease in feral cats who have a caregiver is just as low as in companion cats. They live healthy, natural lives on their own, content in their outdoor home.
Humans are the cause of wildlife depletion
Studies show that the overwhelming cause of wildlife depletion is destruction of natural habitat due to manmade structures, chemical pollution, pesticides, and drought — not feral cats.
'Catch and kill' doesn’t work
Animal control’s endless, cruel cycle is extremely costly to taxpayers. Cats choose to reside in locations for two reasons: there is a food source (intended or not) and shelter. When cats are removed from a location, survivors breed to capacity or new cats move in. This 'Vacuum Effect' is well documented.
Trap Neuter Return does work
No more kittens. The colony numbers gradually reduce and their lives are improved. The behaviours and stresses associated with mating, such as yowling or fighting, stop. This program creates a safety net for both the cats and the community.