Who Is A Feral Cat?
Homeless cats who are afraid of humans, have had little or no human contact, and cannot be easily approached or handled are referred to as “feral.” Feral cats exist due to the public’s failure to adopt, spay/neuter, and its reluctance to make a lifetime commitment to cats in their care. Killing the victims of such negligence should not be a consideration. For decades, the public has been apathetic regarding the plight of homeless animals. It is time to take responsibility for the tragedy we have created.
What Is TNR?
A group of feral cats living together in one area is called a “colony.” Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is an effective, internationally recognized program to reduce, and eventually eliminate, feral cat colonies. Cats are trapped, vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and returned to their original location. Kittens and friendly adults are adopted into good homes.
The success of a TNR approach for feral cats is well-documented and can improve their health and their interactions with people in many situations. When stringently carried out, this approach will help prevent future generations of cats from being in the same situation. Sterilizing cats reduces yowling, fighting, and spraying, and sterilized cats spend less time and energy looking for mates, having kittens, and competing for territory.
Traditional, agency-run attempts to trap and kill cats have historically resulted in greater numbers — and greater suffering for that reason alone — of feral cats, than have well-planned systems to trap, neuter, and return the cats. TNR, in conjunction with public education and low-cost spay/neuter clinics, stabilizes numbers and facilitates the eventual elimination of colonies of homeless cats.
We acknowledge that the safest place for domestic cats is indoors. However, because of the overpopulation crisis, there are not enough available homes. The next best thing for feral cats is a managed colony where food, water, shelter, and medical care are consistently provided.
HAL’s Feral Cat Program helps concerned, proactive people assist feral cats living in their neighborhood. We are here to answer your questions about feral cats and TNR. You could also request a FREE information pack.
HAL provides emotional, educational and financial support when available to all levels of caregivers, from the less experienced to highly knowledgeable to raise the standard of care of the cats in their neighborhoods and reduce the future feral population.
The information provided on this page is for educational purposes.
Feral cats are very afraid of humans and their behavior when trapped or cornered is unpredictable. Do not attempt to handle a homeless cat before consulting with an experienced rescuer! Injury can be caused to you and/or the cat.
HAL promotes responsible caretakers and properly managed colonies. Cat food should not be left out for free feeding; extra food and debris should be promptly removed after feeding times. Feeding areas and shelters should be kept clean and neat. All cats within a colony must be spayed or neutered. HAL encourages caretakers to work with community members, including those for and against the cats; compromise that ensures the safety of the cats as well as harmony within the community is the goal.