Most of you that follow me on a regular basis know I have a soft spot for cats, especially feral cats. I’ve worked with two factions of a large colony for many years now and I tell you with absolute certainty that some of these so-called feral cats, many several generations removed from seeing humans as friends, are some of the most loving animals you will ever meet. There are also those I call “born wild” who will never be tamed the way you think of a housecat. And still, these wild babies are sociable in their own ways.
I am an advocate for TNR, a program where feral cats are trapped carefully, fixed, and released back to their colonies. Over time, the colony collapses as there are no new kittens born and the territory is not overrun with new toms seeking a pride. Simply removing ferals and euthanizing them (this is what happens if you take them to a “shelter.”) doesn’t even slow down the colony growth. If anything it increases the growth as new cats rush in to fill the sudden vacancies.
This National Feral Cat Day, consider talking with your local feral cat advocates to find out about how TNR works and about the opportunity to rehome those in dangerous locations as barn cats or as indoor cats for those who chose people as their new friends . Many ferals do eventually chose friendship with humans but they do need patience (including some who have never had a chance to interact with humans until they are a couple years old). I share my home with two born feral cats and they are just as much housecats as any other cat. More from the colony happily wind around my legs when I approach and push each other out of the way to be the first to get scritched. Just as those who advocate for dogs will remind you it isn’t the breed that is bad, it is how they are treated … I say it isn’t how the cat was born, it is the love it is shown later.