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Feral Cats Can be helped by Caring People

Feral cats, often referred to as wild, are those who were born outside and have no contact with people. They are unsocialized, fearful of humans and can rarely be tamed. They are innocent victims of human irresponsibility and neglect – the result of people failing to have their pet cats spayed or neutered. Not all homeless cats are feral; they may be recently lost or abandoned. However, over time, many will come to behave as feral. It is likely that tens of millions of them live in the United States.

Many caring people feed feral cats, but in reality this just makes a sad situation worse. Providing food to feral colonies keeps them just healthy enough to produce even more kittens that are destined to suffer and die. If you are willing to feed the cats regularly, which they come to depend on, it’s absolutely essential that they be humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, then returned to their original location. This is known as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), a process which creates a stable, managed feral cat colony. As areas are identified, efforts are made to work within that area, educating people and working with local groups on altering animals.

With a dedicated caretaker, TNR can be a viable solution. It improves and extends the cats’ lives, reducing disease and malnutrition. Most importantly, it breaks the tragic cycle of reproduction and gradually reduces the population. Often, when feral cats are trapped and euthanized, new ones move in to “fill the void.” They survive on what meager food and shelter exists, and then begin to breed, starting the cycle all over again.

Valley Oak SPCA encourages feral cat colony caretakers to observe the number of cats and kittens in a colony and to aid in the tracking, altering, vaccinating and feeding of these colonies so they can be better managed. If you are currently caring for a colony, please notify Kelly Austin at (559)741-1121, or Lydia House at (559)713-4682, so we can get your information on file.

Valley Oak SPCA offers reduced surgery prices and vaccines for feral cats at our Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic, 9405 W. Goshen Ave (just west of Plaza Drive), Visalia 93291. All female feral cat surgeries are $40 and all male feral cat surgeries are $30. These surgeries are bundled with a FVR-CP and a Rabies vaccine. Feral cats must be brought in traps between 7:00am  and 9:00am Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. One cat per trap. No appointment necessary.

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