Feral Cat Feeding and Trapping

In order to help prevent births of unwanted cats, the Eastern Madera County SPCA provides a Trap-Neuter-Return program for feral cats in the Eastern Madera County foothill communities. Feral cats (wild cats that cannot be handled) are not generally adoptable. Many national organizations, such as ASPCA, HSUS and Alley Cat Allies have studied feral cat populations and have found that especially in rural areas, the best programs trap, spay or neuter, and return feral cats to their location. The EMCSPCA, working with local vets, pays for the entire cost of surgeries for ferals. Call (559) 683- 1266 and leave a message on the spay/neuter line or email spay@emcspca.org and a volunteer will contact you with information on how our program works. It is imperative that you contact us prior to trapping any feral cats if you want to participate in this program. You should also know that all feral cats having spay/neuter surgeries under this program have their right ear tipped. This is done in case they are trapped a second time.

INFORMATION ABOUT FERAL CATS

WHAT IS A FERAL CAT?

A feral cat is an outdoor cat that has not been socialized by people and requires "trapping" to bring it to a veterinary facility. Feral cats live outdoors in groups known as colonies. These cat colonies can survive on their own but their lives can be improved immensely by a regular "caretaker."

FERAL OR STRAY?

Feral cats will not allow you to approach or handle them. They need to be humanely trapped in order to bring them to a veterinary facility. A stray cat will likely approach you and is likely to be vocal. A stray cat that has only been coming around for a few days should be given the opportunity to find its way back to its owner. For this reason, it is best not to feed or trap it during this time.

CAN’T WE JUST TRAP AND REMOVE ALL THE CATS?

Simply removing cats from an area opens up an ecological void (also called the "vacuum effect"). There is a high likelihood that more cats will fill the void and a new cycle of reproduction will begin. If the colony is sterilized and monitored by a "caretaker" the cat population should stabilize and gradually decline over time.

*Ear-tipping: All feral cats who are trapped and taken to a veterinarian are "ear-tipped". Ear-tipping involves surgically removing a small portion of a cat's right ear while the cat is under anesthesia for spay or neuter surgery. It is the universally accepted way to signify that a community cat has been spayed or neutered, which means that no new kittens will be born, and that's a good thing. 

**Caretaker: Individual who accepts responsibility for caring for a cat colony – not just leaving out food, but monitoring the colony for newcomers, injuries and illness and ensuring every colony member is sterilized and vaccinated.  

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