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Trap, Neuter, Release

What do you do with a feral cat?

Surely you have seen cats roaming your neighborhood at night, searching and scrounging for food.

When you try to approach them, they dart away. Chances are that if they do run away, they are feral.

Feral cats are wild animals. They have no desire to be a pet. Never try to house these animals or pick them up with your bare hands.

But there is a way you can lower the feral cat population: Trap, neuter, release.

Valley Humane Society strongly believes in what we call TNR. Our Tri-Valley headquarters is near a feral cat colony, so we keep an eye on who is out there and when we see a new face, we trap it to check for an ear notch.

The notch indicates that the cat has been spayed or neutered. If there is no ear notch, we send it off to the East Bay SPCA to be altered.

Our veterinary technician, Pam, pays for this service out of her own pocket, as VHS is not a feral rescue organization. Traps also can be rented from the East Bay SPCA. After we trap and neuter, the feral is released back into our colony.

The concept of TNR is very simple. If you would like to feed a colony, that is great. The cats can always use help finding food. Just make sure to leave it in a quiet place so that the general public cannot get to it. Always have the feral colony spayed or neutered.

About the Valley Humane Society

Valley Humane Society is a no-kill, nonprofit animal shelter in Pleasanton. We have more than 200 volunteers and six staff members. We pride ourselves in being a resource center for the community, providing knowledge of responsible pet ownership and humane education.

Adopting and owning a pet is a lifetime commitment. Here at Valley Humane Society, we assure that before we adopt out animals, they are vaccinated, micro chipped, spayed or neutered, and tested for a feline AIDS, feline leukemia and heartworm. 

All of our adoptable animals can be found on the Valley Humane Society website at www.valleyhumane.org, or you can come meet them at 3670 Nevada St., in Pleasanton. Our phone number is 925-426-8656. 

Nicky Neau March 25, 2011 at 07:40 PM
OOPS - I meant that cats can have litters of 1-5.... maybe 11, but I doubt it. :)
CatsIndoors March 27, 2011 at 03:41 AM
"...you reduce the population since you stop uncontrolled breeding because the cats are all spayed. You also ensure the cats are healthy and not a public health threat, and by feeding them, it lessens their desire to do things like kill wildlife..." Uncontrolled breeding is not stopped because not every cat may be trapped, there is immigration of new cats drawn to the food, people dump animals, and the colony can even grow from caregivers relocating cats to existing colonies. A one-time rabies vaccine does not ensure that they are not a public health threat - there is a myriad of diseases from cats. And feeding them in no way lessens their motivation to hunt. http://wildlifeprofessional.org/Documents/cat_package.pdf
CatsIndoors March 27, 2011 at 03:44 AM
Remove the food source and the cats. As for fleas you may be interested in this... http://www.lapublichealth.org/docs/PolicyFree-RoamingCats.pdf
Melissa Bonnel March 27, 2011 at 08:01 PM
Hi everyone, A lot of research has been done, and I admit that I am no expert, but do have experience in the subject. Feral cats absolutely do not want to stay indoors. It could even be tipping on the edge of torture to keep a feral cat indoors. Feral cats are part of life's cycle, and they have been with us just as long as some of our native birds. It is true that pet owners are not always responsible, but in that case, these cats are typically picked up by Animal Control and brought to the local county shelter where they are either adopted or euthanized. In some cases, people do end up trapping ferals and bring them to the local county shelter, where they are euthanized, which is a shame. These feral cats do no harm to our civilization, especially because they are so untrusting of humans, they rarely come out during the daytime anyways. My purpose with this article is to educate the public on a topic that rarely gets any attention. By neutering and re-releasing these animals, they go back to their colony, likely not to bother human society. If they do not get neutered, they continue to mate with others which only furthers the problem. Hopefully, I have made you all consider something you may not have considered before. Thank you for all of your insight.
CatsIndoors March 28, 2011 at 04:13 AM
Can't say I agree having tamed dozens of feral cats. In fact, once acclimated to indoor life, most have no desire to return to a life outdoors, almost knowing what hardships they have left behind. Even simply providing a sanctuary-type environment for a few feral cats who may not warm up to humans will appreciate the comfort of each other. And here is the big plus - they are truly safe which is NEVER the case in TNR and they will not be harming wildlife. Don't know what you mean about 'life's cycle'. The domestic cat has no natural habitat outdoors in North America. From an evolutionary standpoint, the domestic cat has not been around that long - thousands of years is a drop in the bucket and native wild animals have not evolved alongside this non native predator. There have been unprovoked attacks on people, public health is an issue (including waterways), they can pose a great nuisance, neutered or not, and they do come out during the day. True feral cats may be more secretive, but unfortunately, the makeup of these colonies is more than true ferals. This is a complicated and emotional issue, but all aspects should be considered.

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