Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | September 30, 2009

National Feral Cat Day

Wild Shelter Cat

October 16th marks the 9th Annual National Feral Cat Day and Second Chance Humane Society hopes that all Pet Column readers will participate in promoting this day devoted to protecting and improving the lives of cats around the country. 

National Feral Cat Day was launched in 2001 by Alley Cat Allies, the national advocate for feral and stray cats and a recognized authority on Trap‐Neuter‐Return—a program in which cats who live outdoors are humanely trapped and brought to a veterinarian to be evaluated, spayed or neutered and vaccinated.

Trap‐Neuter‐Return is the best course of action for feral cats, because it ends the breeding cycle and stops behaviors associated with mating.  Scientific evidence as well as decades of hands‐on experience shows that Trap‐Neuter‐Return is more humane than programs that rely on catch and kill.

“The cost of catch and kill is too high, and not only in terms of dollars,” said Becky Robinson, President of Alley Cat Allies. “Being killed in an animal pound or shelter is the leading documented cause of death for cats in the United States.”

Second Chance Humane Society operates a Feral Cat Program in Ouray and San Miguel Counties.  One issue that I have encountered was being mistaken for a feral cat when in fact I was a friendly stray.  (I am now available for adoption and can be found at the Second Chance Shelter – just ask for “Sheba”). 

People often confuse feral cats with stray cats but there is a difference.  A feral cat is a domestic cat that was lost or abandoned and has turned to the wild for survival.  Or it is a cat that was born to a stray or feral mother and had little or no human contact.

Adult feral cats are usually too fearful to socialize and are not suited to cohabiting with people. Feral kittens have some potential toward being socialized and domesticated. Feral cats often live in family groups called colonies that form near a source of food and shelter.  They can survive almost anywhere, and are found worldwide.

A stray cat, on the other hand, is a fully domesticated cat that wandered from home or was abandoned and has been on its own for a shorter period of time. A stray cat may be skittish in your presence, but because they once knew human companionship, they can usually be re-socialized and re-homed.

In understanding the distinctions between ferals and strays, the important issue to recognize is that all feral cats originated from a domestic cat and thus it is the responsibility of humanity to care for and protect them – as they are not truly “wild animals”.

Thus, if you do have an unfamiliar cat hanging about your house call the SCHS Helpline (below) and talk to someone about the best approach to help it find a home or get assistance through the Feral Cat Program.  For more information about National Feral Cat Day, see www.alleycat.org/NFCD.

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online: www.secondchancehumanesociety.org.  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.

 

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