Feral Cats at a Glance
Feral cats, sometimes called "free-roaming" or "alley" cats, are homeless domestic felines who have reverted to a wild state. This happens when cats are raised entirely without human contact, generally as offspring of lost or abandoned cats. Feral cats are not just shy, lost pets; they are extremely frightened of people and typically cannot be touched or handled.
Because feral cats are so afraid of people and cannot be successfully socialized, they cannot be placed as companions and are euthanized at most shelters. An alternative for feral cats that many communities are embracing is called trap-neuter-return (TNR).
TNR involves trapping the feral cats in a humane trap, having the cats spayed or neutered, and then re-releasing them back into the area where they were trapped. Spaying and neutering stabilizes the feral population in the neighborhood and helps reduce many of the behaviors that people may find annoying, such as territorial fighting among tomcats and territorial spraying.
Feral Cat Resources:
· Alley Cat Allies is a national group that advocates for TNR programs.
· Feral Cat Spay Neuter Project provides free feral/stray cat spay/neuter at their clinic in Seattle. Reservations are required.
· Feral Cat Assistance & Trapping will help trap, spay and neuter, and return feral cats.