One or two cats walking the streets can be mistaken for the neighbors’ pet cat, but once kittens abound it becomes apparent a feral cat colony has established. As the population increases, feral cats can become a troublesome concern due to the diseases they carry, their feeding & latrine habits and altercations with household pets.
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Feral cats are often found in areas where there is overgrown foliage, abandon buildings or exposed decks that provide protection from the elements. They also tend to establish in areas were homeowners leave out pet food, trash or other debris that can be consumed. Left unchecked their population can grow rapidly.
Do not mistake a feral cats comfortability with a property as comfortability with the inhabitants of the property. Feral cats are wild animals and should be handled as such.
The best way to avoid unwanted feral cat populations is to minimize food sources in your neighborhood and clean up habitat areas.
- Keep all landscaping trimmed to avoid overgrowth.
- Keep sheds or outbuildings properly sealed against animal entry.
- Install animal barrier around exposed decks to limit access.
- Work together with neighbors to avoid exterior food sources (i.e. feeding pets or storing pet food outdoors, leaving out table food scraps for feral cats, open compost areas, etc)
If feral cats have already established on your property you have two primary removal options:
- You can pursue a Trap, Neuter and Return campaign through your local animal shelter or
- You can pursue a trapping and removal campaign with a wildlife removal professional.
With TNR (trap, neuter and return) campaigns the goal is typically to prevent reproduction but allow the feral cats to continue living and feeding on your property. However, a wildlife removal professional can assist with trapping as well and remove any captures from the property.
With any form of trapping and removal, keep in mind that feral cats can be very smart and cautious animals. It may take them time to adjust to the presence of a trap in their space and all alternate food sources should be cleaned up to make the food inside the trap more appealing. Once a feral cat is captured inside of a trap and released, they will typically avoid any future encounters with a trap.
- Feral cats are wild animals.
- Feral cats do not have the vaccinations and treatments that household pets receive to prevent common feline diseases.
- Feral cats will thrive on distressed properties with overgrown foliage or abandon buildings.