How To Get Rid of Feral Cats

How To Get Rid of Feral Cats

by Michael

Neutered feral cats after surgery - great but sad photo, thanks - photo by Feral Indeed! (Flickr)

Neutered feral cats after surgery - great but sad photo, thanks - photo by Feral Indeed! (Flickr)

A fair percentage of people want to know how to get rid of feral cats. And this is actually a cat news item because in Columbia, USA, a lady who was trapping, neutering and releasing (TNR) feral cats as well as feeding them in the process was prosecuted under a law that prohibits keeping more than 4 cats at one location. The question was whether this extended to feeding and conducting TNR on feral cats.

The local court convicted her. On appeal a circuit judge allowed the appeal. Her written judgment is awaited.

This case mirrors to a certain extent the Beverly Hills Municipal Code Case. In both cases people living in one area where the TNR program was conducted objected to it because it attracted more feral cats and indeed wildlife.

Fair enough in one way, it seems. And they wanted to get rid of feral cats from their area by stopping the feeding of them as part of the TNR programme.

To me the action of prosecuting her seems inherently wrong on at least two levels.

Firstly, she is trying to humanely and decently mop up a mess caused by other people. The causes of feral cats are complex but one reason is irresponsible abandonment. And in my view the underlying reason for abandonment is not only the fault of the cat's owners but also the veterinarians who purvey through the practice of declawing that cats are "things" we can do as we please with.

Another reason for feral cats is probably the failure by some owners to neuter their cats. Why don't they neuter them? Is it the vet's charges? Or just a lack of awareness or both? I am not sure but the cause of the "feral cat problem" is deep seated and underlying and simply punishing a good woman for doing her bit, voluntarily, to help the victims of peoples' carelessness and/or greed (vets) is quite definitely not the way to go about getting rid of feral cats.

The circuit judge no doubt agreed with this.

But how to get rid of feral cats? There has to be a complete and subtle culture change. The concept of the human/domestic cat relationship has to change for some people (not all, of course) and their attitude towards the domestic has to change to one of high responsibility, which translates to always neutering (sad but it has to be done as it is the only practical way under current circumstances) their cats and importantly assimilating the idea that a cat is to be kept for the life of the cat with no exceptions.

That might seem tough but I don't think it is. Before adopting a cat a person simply has to ask themselves can I keep this cat permanently whatever happens?

Lastly the vets have a major role to play in conveying the right culture of cat keeping. They are failing dismally in this.

It almost always comes down to money. Vets compromise their values chasing the buck and cat owners abandon cats because they can't afford to keep a cat anymore.

Both these problems are resolvable. No one in the Western world is sufficiently poor to the extent that they cannot continue to keep a cat. Lack of sufficient funding is a convenient excuse.

Back to the story. If people want to get rid of feral cats from their area by stopping TNR programs this is simply brushing the problem under the carpet or moving it somewhere else. This simply perpetuates the problem. This is more irresponsible behavior.

The people who prosecuted this lady (Animal Control) are misguided and lack an understanding of the wider picture. It was doomed to fail.

How to get rid of feral cats? Go back to basics and fundamentals and do that for long enough and you will succeed without further harming the innocent victim, the humble domestic and feral cat.

How to get rid of feral cats to cat news

Comments for
How To Get Rid of Feral Cats

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Mar 25, 2010 Everyone in the western world?
by: Anonymous

You have to be kidding? You think everyone can afford to keep a cat. Let me tell you,dude,not true. We had cats for years and now one old lady is left and we can barely feed her. A mom had babies under our house and we have been feeding them for months because they are feral and the shelter here would put them down. They have become our family but we are down to twenty dollars to last the next couple of weeks. My husband is disabled and our small business is making nothing. I have to wait for a place in my next part-time job. We have bills and taxes etc. Luckily, our house is paid for and our car but the upkeep is substantial. We are living way below poverty at the moment. But the alternative is to send our dear little feral guys away to be euthanized. Great choices!


Mar 25, 2010 Everyone in the western world?
by: Anonymous

You have to be kidding? You think everyone can afford to keep a cat. Let me tell you,dude,not true. We had cats for years and now one old lady is left and we can barely feed her. A mom had babies under our house and we have been feeding them for months because they are feral and the shelter here would put them down. They have become our family but we are down to twenty dollars to last the next couple of weeks. My husband is disabled and our small business is making nothing. I have to wait for a place in my next part-time job. We have bills and taxes etc. Luckily, our house is paid for and our car but the upkeep is substantial. We are living way below poverty at the moment. But the alternative is to send our dear little feral guys away to be euthanized. Great choices!


Dec 17, 2009 I agree
by: kathy

I totally agree with everyones comments. There is no limit to the cruelty of people. I had to stop watching animal planet tv station because I couldnt stomach the cruelty of humans. I have seen people release their pet cat thinking it could survive on mice and so forth. They then got mad when the cat got into their garbage. They then moved away and had the nerve to come to my door later wanting to adopt one of my kittens. NEVER


Dec 03, 2009 How to get rid of feral cats.
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

In India feral cats are not considered a pest or nuisance unlike stray dogs and allowed to live their natural lives in the fish markets and street rubbish dumps.Feral cats have a very short life and i personally witnessed the same at my second home in Bangalore, having 'video-taped" this cat living in my cottage precincts in January 2009. In November 2009 i again went to my Bangalore cottage for finalising the "sale deed" to a new owner and found no trace of this particular cat. Instead, i found a new feral cat prowling around the cottage precincts,taking over from its new evacuee, bizarre, as i was also visiting my former residence for the last time, although not as a feral cat. Please, let feral cats exist in their natural environment and "spaying" or "castrating" them is the only solution to reducing their population as is done on the stray dogs of Mumbai.


Dec 03, 2009 Agreed
by: Michael

I agree (as you can see) that the problem needs to be dealt with at the root. It is no good just dealing with the problems in an ad hoc way on the fringes by for example punishing a nice caring lady for the wrong reasons. It needs a culture shift, something fundamental and that includes as you say educating children, the future cat carers to treat cats as living feeling creatures as lifelong companions.

This will take time and in the meantime lots of cats will no doubt suffer. I find it depressing to be honest.


Dec 03, 2009 To Mary H
by: Ruth aka Kattaddorra

How kind you are ! I agree it's childrens education about animals that is lacking.My mother taught us from being very small to respect and love all animals and in the UK we learn at school too how they are dependant on us and we are responsible once we give one a home.
I think the trouble in the USA is that many children are brought up thinking animals are possessions, take declawing cats for example,claws are sharp so get them removed ! It sends out the completely wrong message and generation after generation think it's acceptable to adapt cats for humans benefit.Then when behavioural problems start, they are 'bad cats' and they get dumped. Throw that one out, we can always get another !
When young people are told what declawing really is and how it affects the cat, they are quite shocked and start thinking about it instead of just accepting it as a family custom.
There would be hope for the future if all youngsters were educated about animal welfare, but if the parents don't do it and they don't learn at school, it will go on and on as there is no way we can reach every child otherwise.


Dec 03, 2009 Feral Cats
by: Mary H

I wanted to chime in on this as we own a horse farm and DOZENS of PG cats have been dropped on us. We've even watched them tossed out of the cars by the driver's children on occasion. I cannot believe the level of cruelty out there... I think this problem starts even further back. Parents MUST teach their children RESPONSIBILITY for each and every one of their actions... they must be taught (by word and by example) that every living breathing creature is worthy of our compassion and care!
We have a barn full but we take the wanderer's anyway.... we catch and spay/neuter all that we can and place the kittens carefully.
I cannot stress enough how far our Nation has wandered from the concept of decency. It is now common place to shrug off responsibility for crime, for children, for animals...
for elderly.
I can't see this changing until we change the level of expectation in ourselves and in our children.


Dec 03, 2009 Feral cats
by: Ruth aka Kattaddorra

It is terrible that a kind person was prosecuted !It's well known that TNR is the best way of controlling feral cat colonies as once they are all neutered no more kittens can be born and the colony eventually dies out.Feral cats don't have very long lives but it seems some people are so intolerant of them that they aren't even allowed to live their short lives in peace.
All because some people are so irresponsible and cruel by abandoning cats,but they get away with it, its the poor cats that suffer being 'a nuiscance'
Whatever is wrong with some of our fellow men/women that they harden their hearts against innocent creatures ?
I'm always saying it but I say it again, no one should be allowed to have a pet unless they can pass a competence test.I think they should also take an oath to say they will look after it for its lifetime too !



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