You probably guessed it, almost 90% of feral cat colony caretakers are educated women. They do it out of love for cats and animals and for their welfare. They are wonderful people. Never criticise them. You might not like feral cats but that is beside the point. These are good people trying to do right by feral cats. Feral cats were put there by us, by people and we owe a duty towards them to look after their welfare and treat them decently and to respect them. These good women do it. And let’s not forget the small percentage of men who do the same thing. They’re great guys.
Feral cats in managed colonies appear to be in good health and can obtain “whatever level of interaction they need with their caretaker”. Feral cat caretakers often have strong bonds with their feral cats.
If you’re a community cat caretaker/guardian please tell me your story in a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
An Hawaiian study of 75 colony caretakers found that most of them were female, middle-aged, married and well educated. They also owned their own pets and were in full-time employment. Therefore their dedication and interest motivated them to care for their feral cats outside of work hours. They spent considerable time and their own money caring for their feral cat colonies. They were motivated by their love of cats and the opportunity to look after them. They received feelings of enhanced self-esteem.
A study in Florida, USA of 101 caretakers looking after 920 cats in 132 colonies found that 84% were female. The average age was 45 years. The age range was from 19 years of age to 74 years of age. Almost 90% of the caretakers owned their own pets. Two thirds of them owned cats. More than half the caretakers were married. The most common reason given for caring for feral cats was “sympathy or ethical concern followed by loving animals or cats”.
Feral cat colony caretakers are good people. No one can deny it. A better word for ‘feral cat’ is ‘community cat’ because like it or loathe it they are part of the community.
- Haspel & Calhoon 1993
- Natoli et al 1999
- Zsloff & Hart 1998
- Centoze & Levy 2002
Photos: Jacksonville.com (bottom photo). Top photo: Daily Mail via Corbis, ZUMA Press and Bart Ah You.