My Feral Cat Experience
(Skagit County, WA)
Big Rex, FIV positive, about 18 months old
I have been trapping, spaying/neutering and returning feral cats in my neighborhood for several years - I am a volunteer with an all-foster animal rescue group in my county. I feed ferals and provide shelter for them in my woodshed.
Cats that are truly feral are returned, but cats that are previously abandoned or lost and show some signs of being tame are fostered and eventually (if possible) adopted into forever homes.
All the cats we trap are tested for FIV and FeLV. Cats that test positive for FIV and are tame enough to be brought into our system are taken in, but if feral and they test positive for either FIV or FeLV are euthanized.
Many people in my neighborhood see these cats as a total nuisance. The cats use the gardens for their litter boxes and that makes gardeners very angry. I find these cats to be quite amazing - their survival skills are awesome. The have to deal with loose dogs, raccoons and possums, as well as each other for territory and food.
Some of my neighbors are also feral-cat friendly, and so far we have tamed 5 of these cats enough to have them stay close and allow us to be in their presence without running away to hide. They won't allow us to touch them, but will get close and seem to welcome our presence in their space, as if they realize that we are helping them. Most likely they are just recognizing that we are their source of food and warm beds!
I have three FIV positive cats living in my house now that were trapped with feral colonies that were tame when trapped. They are all healthy, range in age between approximately 1 and 6 years old, and get along with each other quite well.