Don’t feed feral cats say the RSPCA

Feral cat UK High Wycombe

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Joan Johnson from the South Bucks branch of the RSPCA, “the leading UK animal welfare charity”, says we should not feed feral cats despite the temptation to help. How, then are people who care about feral cats going to be able to successfully manage feral cat colonies? I would have thought that feeding feral cats was part of the process of trap-neuter-return. If I am wrong I will accept criticism.

The reason Joan Johnson gives for not feeding feral cats is that they are a nuisance in terms of disease and pestering other cats and people. The RSCPA advice is to call the RSPCA and not feed or trap feral cats.

Without wishing to be unjustifiably negative, how responsive are the RSPCA going to be in coming to TNR a feral cat where you live? Firstly, how do you know the cat is feral? That is the first major obstacle. Secondly, my experience of the RSPCA in turning up and dealing with routine animal issues is not good. The RSPCA seems more concerned with high profile cases and litigation than the mundane.

Perhaps I am wrong again – I sincerely hope that I am – but if you are feeding as well as trapping I would have thought you were more able to trap cats. In fact, I don’t see how you can complete the “trap” part of trap-neuter-return (TNR) with doing some feeding. Food is used to trap feral cats and to help to manage a feral cat colony. Note: trapping feral cats requires skill and care. There are potential problems.

I understand the downsides of feeding feral cats. It seems to the general public as if you are supporting feral cats; perpetuating and expanding the “problem”. A problem which, thankfully, the RSPCA recognise as originating in the behavior of people.

However, if feeding feral cats is always accompanied by TNR then I would have though it was acceptable to the general public because it can only be beneficial, in the long term, to everyone including the cats.

The South Buckinghamshire branch of the RSPCA is dealing with what they describe as “a huge problem around the High Wycombe area” in respect of feral cat populations. The RSPCA is conducting a TNR programme in the area. They are seeking volunteers to help.

The video is interesting because it shows that the UK does have a feral cat problem of sorts, at least in some areas despite the fact that I never see feral cats living in London. You would have thought that if there was a feral cat problem in South Buckinghamshire, which is not far from London, that you’d have a similar situation in Greater London where there is a much higher human population density.

The RSPCA has TNRed 5,000 cats in the past 3 years. In the South Bucks area they are regularly asked to help.

14 thoughts on “Don’t feed feral cats say the RSPCA”

  1. At a presentation in Toronto by reps from the New York Feral Cat Initiative, they said that their state requires that all domestic animals must be fed and cared for under animal welfare laws. What the RSCPCA recommends would probably be illegal in New York.

    Feral cats are considered domestic animals, not wildlife. This needs to be part of laws everywhere so their numbers can be managed through successful Trap-Neuter-Return.

    Near the end of this pdf, this has some info on the State of New York’s support of TNR. –

    NYFCI –

    The position of the RSPCA is outdated. Only PETA is the other remaining self proclaimed “animal rights” group that would rather see cats dead than fed (if you read info on their site, they’re opposed to keeping any pets or animals in captivity).

    If a group is in favour of protecting the rights of other living beings, isn’t the first and most fundamental right the right to life?

    A dead animal or person does not need protection from cruelty. You don’t see Amnesty International or Childrens’ Services telling everyone not to feed homeless people!

    The American SPCA has been gradually changing. Most SPCAs are founded on what the ASPCA did. They diverged from their original mission after founder Henry Bergh died. The RSPCA, like some other SPCAs, are not really experts or leaders when it comes to putting life saving programs and services in place. Individual shelters and communities are actually leading progressive change.


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