WILD IN WINDSOR
Every life is precious, even the lives of feral cats!
It's Happening Right In Your Own Backyard
You’ve seen them darting from view in your backyard, outside your favourite restaurants and in the park or alleyways. Feral cats live everywhere, forming colonies wherever they find food and shelter.
Why Are There So Many Feral Cats?
Feral cats exist because of irresponsible pet ownership. People allow their unaltered cats to roam the streets, reproduce, and take no responsibility for the resulting offspring. Companion animal abandonment is the other major reason. People assume their cats will survive on their own when they move away or can't afford to care for them any longer. Such assumptions kill millions of homeless cats, which die on the streets or at animal control facilities each year. The cats that do survive on the streets become the base stock for feral populations. This is not a "cat" problem, but rather a people problem. It's an individuals' lack of respect not only for their companion cats but also for their neighbours and community at large.
Feral Colony Eradication:
The traditional approach "eradiction" says that to reduce feral cat numbers, cats need to be rounded up and removed. But bringing feral cats to shelters is the same as a death sentence. When feral cats cannot adapt to living with humans, they end up being euthanized as do their healthy kittens. Eradication for feral cat control continues to be heavily used in many communities even though studies show that this method simply does not work. It is a method that has not only repeatedly failed to reduce the feral cat population, but is responsible for the dramatic increases in euthanasia figures at animal control facilities.
The main reason eradication will never work is that these cats are removed, but the food sources –rodents, dumpsters, feeders, etc.– remain. With less surviving cats, there is less competition for food and the cats begin to breed heavily, quickly recolonizing. This “vacuum effect” caused by removing cats also encourages new unneutered cats to move into the area. With these new inhabitants comes fighting and nuisance spraying as they compete for their place in the colony. In a very short span of time, you will find that you are back to square one.
An Alternative You Can Feel Good About: TRAP, NEUTER & RETURN (TNR)
An established neutered colony will defend its territory to protect its food source, limiting the addition of new cats to the group. For this reason, leaving spayed and neutered cats in a colony is the best deterrent to population growth. The TNR approach stabilizes the colonies and eliminates the problems people find annoying about feral cats-- spraying and urine odour abates; mating yowls are eliminated; and fighting is reduced.
How Does Trap, Neuter, and Return Work?
Each feral colony member is trapped, taken to a veterinary clinic, and given a health evaluation. The very ill are humanely euthanized. The adoptable cats (strays) and kittens are placed for adoption. The remaining healthy members are spayed or neutered, given shots (including the rabies vaccine), treated for parasites, ear-tipped for identification, and then returned to the colony. A care-taker (probably the person who was already feeding the cats) makes sure that there is clean water, food and waterproof shelter for the cats. The caretaker also monitors the colony for health problems, and keeps an eye out for the occasional new member, making sure it is spayed or neutered promptly. The neighborhood has an effective, non-toxic rodent control system in place.
MYTHS VS. TRUTHS
MYTH: Feral cats lead short, miserable lives so it’s best to trap and euthanize them.
TRUTH: Studies show that feral cats have about the same lifespan as indoor cats. And they contract diseases at about the same rate. It is simply not humane or prudent to kill a healthy feral cat, and this practice does not reduce their populations over the long-term because other cats move in and start breeding.
MYTH: Feral cats are diseased and can make pet cats or children sick.
TRUTH: Feral cats are generally healthy. The incidence of disease in feral cat colonies is no higher than among owned cats. In one sense, feral cats serve as a barrier to disease - by killing rodents. *Additional information about zoonosis (diseases transmitted from animals to humans) is available by for a copy of our informational communique that deals with this issue.
MYTH: Feral cats attack people.
TRUTH: Feral cats shun human contact, especially with unfamiliar people. They aren’t interested in interacting with you or your children. As with any urban wildlife, you would only be in danger if you try to corner one.
MYTH: Feral cats are predators that deplete wildlife.
TRUTH: Studies show that the overwhelming cause of wildlife depletion is destruction of natural habitat due to man-made structures, chemical pollution, pesticides, and drought — not feral cats.
MYTH: Feral cats should be taken to local animal shelters so they can be adopted.
TRUTH: Feral cats are not pet cats and they will be killed at most shelters for being unadoptable. Feral kittens are often separated from their mothers when they are still nursing. While the mothers are immediately euthanized, the kittens are sometimes spared but often are not tamed by shelter workers within the critical 10-week window, so they remain feral and therefore unadoptable. Even no-kill shelters are not able to place feral cats into homes.
MYTH: Sanctuaries should be used for all feral cats.
TRUTH: This is a compassionate answer, but it’s not a workable solution for most feral cats. Besides the fact that sanctuaries are expensive to operate, there isn’t enough land or money to relocate all of the feral cats into sanctuaries. It also is not necessary when communities fund TNR programs and have caregivers who manage colonies.
Admittedly, the problem is much bigger than the Jazzpurr Society, or any other group, can deal with single-handedly. When funding is available, Jazzpurr Society is able to offer a low-cost/free clinic for feral cat caregivers. We will also happily assist & counsel anyone who is caring for ferals or would like to begin caring for ferals in their area. .
Currently the program is on hold while we secure additional donations and grants to continue. We welcome your expertise in securing new grants, donations or if you’d like to join our fundraising committee. We'd love for you to join us in this important work to save lives. You can also choose to make a donation directly to the spay/neuter program. You can be assured that any funds earmarked for spay/neuter will be only used for that purpose and all Canadian donations over $10.00 are eligible for a tax receipt.
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