Pet people care about the well-being of all animals. Many of our clients take in pets that they find out on the streets or adopt new pets from local shelters. As a result, it is essential to discuss the various programs and solutions for feral cats in the Southcoast area. While not every Southeastern Massachusetts veterinarian participates in this program, there are lots of clinics and shelters in the surrounding area that offer trap spay neuter release programs. For your own pets, annual exams and services are available at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth, but for feral cats or rescue services, you and the animal will be best served at a clinic that focuses on this type of veterinary treatment program.
What is a Feral Cat?
There are a lot of misunderstandings about feral cats in America. Not all homeless cats living out on the street are feral. A feral cat is a cat who was born “in the wild” and has never known any human contact. When a feral cat is approached by a potential predator, including humans, they flee with their bellies to the ground. Feral cats frequently live in large colonies that have a hierarchical structure. These colonies are self-sustaining and deter newcomers from joining in from the outside. If a stray cat wanders into a colony’s territory, they are often ostracized, but are someones accepted.
The difference between feral cats and stray cats is significant. A stray cat will have had human contact in the past, but for some reason is now homeless. They were either abandoned or ran away and got lost but did not live their entire lives out on the street. Studies show that cats learn to trust humans between six and twelve weeks of age, which is why feral kittens can be tamed and become adoptable. Older cats will resist any type of training; however, there are some who have the personality and interest to make the change. The best way to control feral cat populations is to begin trap spay neuter release programs in your area.
What is TNR?
The TNR movement has grown in popularity across the United States. TNR stands for Trap Neuter Return and is by far the most widely used trap spay neuter release programs nationwide. The TNR program provides those who are interested in learning more about this program with education and services that can help to reduce the rampant growth of feral cat colonies. Their research has proven that euthanizing is ineffective and extremely cost-prohibitive to cities and communities that have problems with feral cats. The reason is that when feral cats are caught, removed, and euthanized from the colony; the remaining cats will initiate an increased breeding cycle that will recover the population in just a few years.
Spay neuter release programs instead stop the endless cycle of breeding to reduce the numbers without mass euthanizing and offer better results. This is a much more humane solution and helps to improve the health of the existing colonies, which offer many benefits to local communities. A reduction in rodents and other common issues experienced by homeowners and municipal areas is just one of the beneficial effects of having a feral cat colony in the area. However, it is currently estimated that approximately half of the cat population in the United States, which encompasses 60-100 million cats, fall into the feral cat category.
Doing Your Part
As a pet owner, there are things you can do to help reduce the population of Southcoast feral cats. Ensure that your own cats are spayed or neutered as kittens and keep them indoors to prevent them from wandering off, getting lost, or becoming involved in fights with other local cats. Schedule a regular exam with your Southeastern Massachusetts veterinarian to ensure that your cat is up-to-date on all vaccinations and preventive treatments. The health and care of our pets, whether indoor or outdoor, can also impact the ongoing health of feral cat colonies. Anyone who lives with a cat knows that if they want outdoors, they will eventually slip through a cracked door or open window. Do everything you can to prevent this, but ensure that your cat is protected from disease, parasites, and other dangers if they do make it outdoors.
Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth has a variety of veterinary treatment options, services, and programs designed to keep pets safe. If you are interested in learning more about how to help Southcoast feral cats or want to get involved in trap spay neuter release programs, contact a feral cat program in Massachusetts or Rhode Island. They are always in need of volunteers, donations, and support. Pet lovers all want the same thing – to ensure that their own pets and wild or homeless pets are taken care of as much as possible. To schedule an appointment for your cat, dog, rabbit, or another type of domesticated pet, contact our team by calling 508-996-3731. Together we can help to provide the best possible care for all animals in the Southcoast area.