There are a lot of people worldwide helping to take care of the overflow of cats—those cats that nobody wants. And it’s sad to think that so many of these throw-away cats were, themselves, pets or came from a line of cats that were once pets. Some of these cats or their parents or grandparents may have been beloved household companions at one time.
How do cats become feral? People move away and leave their cats behind. They turn their cat out because he or she isn’t following the household rules, someone in the house becomes allergic to the cat, it scratches a child, a new family member doesn’t like the cat, or it doesn’t get along with the dog. They believe that cats can fend for themselves, after all. Sometimes the cat moves out on its own. We had a cat once who didn’t get along with the dog we brought home and moved across the street to live with a neighbor. The neighbor adored the cat—but I missed him.
Oops, some of these former pet owners never got around to having their cat spayed or neutered, so another generation of unwanted kittens is born and they have kittens, and they have kittens and each litter of kittens, of course, become more and more wild.
Thankfully, there are hundreds of organizations and individuals—maybe thousands of
them—who have stepped up and are caring for many colonies where cats have gathered and bred and multiplied. Some people feed these cats on a regular basis. Many trap the cats and have them spayed and neutered. We have a former colony cat in our home. Sophie was trapped as a kitten and the veterinarian who spayed her thought she could be domesticated. Having just lost a beloved kitty, we took on the task. Pshaw! There was little to it. The veterinarian was right, Sophie probably was a first generation litter in a feral community and she was eager to settle in and become a beloved family member.
The cats in these pictures are being fed and monitored by a friend of mine in her backyard. Cats began coming to her door several years ago—a mother cat and her kitten, then a batch of new kittens, then a couple of unrelated stragglers, until my friend was practically overrun by cats and kittens. She worked hard at trapping and delivering the cats to her local veterinarian for treatment and to be spayed/neutered. And just look at how those kitties are thriving.
You see, one person can make a difference for some of this community’s feral cats.
I’d like to hear your stories of the cats you’ve cared for outside of your chosen companion cats. I doubt there’s a cat lover among us who hasn’t taken in a stray or otherwise helped a cat in need.
This month we celebrate National Feral Cat Day (October 16) Send me your feral cat stories to share that week.