Feral cats live outdoors and are “unowned” by people. They can be found in every landscape and every continent. Feral cats, sometimes referred to as “community cats”, are not socialized and are wary and fearful of people, preferring to live outdoors. Domesticated cats become feral when human caregivers fail to spay/neuter them and abandon them to a life on the streets. This is the number one contribution to pet overpopulation here in Houston. Feral cats are considered unadoptable as pets. Yet their suffering can be painfully obvious and it is natural to want to help them.
Trap, Spay/Neuter & Return (TNR) is the humane solution to cat colony population expansion. 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 feral or “wild” cats 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 FCAP for the last ten years, a program designed to help deal with the feral cat problem in Houston.
In the case of kittens, oftentimes feral kittens can be socialized if worked with at a very early age. The ideal window for socializing feral kittens is between 6 and 10 weeks of age - beyond 10 weeks, feral cats may never socialize completely or at all. As a result, we do not recommend attempting to socialize feral cats older than 10 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.
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.
Before you go…
Tap the hood of your car. Every winter CAP will receive calls from panicked citizens who while driving have realized there is a cat or kitten trapped in their car. When the weather turns cold your parked car can seem like a warm refuge. Flexible kittens snuggle up to warm engine parts without realizing you have not parked your vehicle for the day or night. Car engine parts move and a belt can quickly tear into the soft belly of a cat who just wanted to warm up. Before starting your car simply tap or thump the hood of your car to startle anyone who might be hiding underneath or in the engine compartment. You never know when this simple act might save a life.
Want to learn even more? Check out the links below.