October 16th was National Feral Cat Day and this year’s theme is All Cats, All Communities. As a community we all have a responsibility to help where we can. Day to day living is difficult for feral cats, who often deal with disease, parasites, and hunger among other things. The population of feral cats has risen steadily, but dropping these cats by the shelter may not be your best bet. Unfortunately, many of the feral cats put in shelters are euthanized because they are nearly impossible to adopt out to the public.
Feral cats tend to live in colonies that can inhabit communities in rural, urban, and, suburban areas. These cats must not be handled. Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is one of the only humane method of controlling the feral cat population. This program focuses on sterilizing humanely caught feral cats in the communities. There are a number of organizations you can get in touch with that will guide you through what to do if you should happen upon a community of feral cats living near you. Some organizations to contact include:
- Metro Ferals in Arlington
- Richmond SPCA in Richmond
- Cat’s Cradle in Harrisonburg and surrounding areas
- Angels of Assisi operates throughout Virginia
Quite a few organizations in Virginia offer free spaying or neutering for feral animals and some even vaccinate them against rabies. Once cats are sterilized many of their disruptive behavior lessens or halts altogether. Any cats that are sterilized and returned to the community will have their ear tipped to alert anyone that happens upon them that they have already been spayed or neutered.
Our furry friends depend on us to take care of them; feral cats may be even more in need of love and understanding than the furry friend you have safe and sound at home. Everyday they face the dangers of living on the street without food, medical care, or love. With the assistance of everyone in the community we can manage the volume of feral cats in Virginia.