Feral cats are not socialized to people and they are unadoptable as pets. Because of this CAP will only accept feral cats through the Trap, Neuter, and Return program. If you have trapped a cat and do not want to neuter and return, you can surrender the cat to your local animal control facility but first you may want to read about preventing unwanted feral behavior with our Feral Cat Deterrence Techniques.
Often times feral kittens can be socialized if worked with at a very early age. The ideal window for socializing feral kittens is 12 weeks of age or younger—beyond 12 weeks, feral cats may never socialize completely or at all. As a result, we do not recommend attempting to socialize feral cats older than 12 weeks—it is dangerous and stressful for both you and the cat. The best thing you can do to help feral cats is Trap, Neuter, and Return.
The humane solution to cat colony population expansion is trap-spay/neuter-release. CAP supports this solution with our Feral Cat Assistance Program (FCAP) TNR has been used successfully all over the world and is considerably more effective than the wholesale euthanasia of all ferals heretofore attempted by animal control agencies and shelters. In fact, TNR is an approved method of feral cat population control within the City of Houston. See Houston Code Secs. 6 and 22. Because of our belief, CAP developed and has operated for the last ten years, a program designed to help deal with the feral cat problem in Houston.
If you believe that you have discovered feral or stray cats near your home and would like to help these cats, first determine that the cats are indeed feral and not the neighbors' outdoor pets. You can make this determination by observing their behavior and appearance over a period of time (read this FAQ on Feral Cats). If the cat is a stray, you may want to put up "found cat" notices in the neighborhood, search the missing pet databases, file a found pet report at CAP and other local shelters and facilitate the return of the cat to its family. If you have determined the cats are feral, contact FCAP or call 281-497-0591 for information on trapping the cats, having them spayed/neutered and returned to their territory. Monitoring the welfare of a feral cat colony is not only interesting, but rewarding...both for the cats and for you.
Resources on feral cats: