Pets

Help for Feral Cats

Humane trapping can help homeless kitties.

Help for Feral Cats
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Q: My neighborhood is crawling with feral cats. What can I do about them?

A: Your instinct might be to make sure that nobody puts food out for these kitties, but that actually isn’t your best bet. “Neighborhood feeding bans don’t work—they’re impossible to enforce,” says Becky Robinson, president and cofounder of Alley Cat Allies, a national cat advocacy organization in Bethesda, Md. “Plus, the cats find food elsewhere.” They’re also more visible while they’re out prowling for something to eat. Because most feral cats aren’t socialized, they’re not considered adoptable, so when they’re brought to shelters, they’re killed, she adds. Luckily, there is a kinder option: a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program, which asks volunteers to humanely trap the felines and take them to a veterinarian, where they are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped (a physical ID that they’ve been sterilized) and then returned to their cat colonies. For info on how to find (or launch) a TNR program in your area, visit alleycat.org.