Stray cats are a common sight on many city streets, and people either stop and try to pet them, or ignore them altogether. To differentiate, stray cats are socialized to people, while feral cats are more likely the offspring of strays, are not socialized to people, and have reverted to a wild state. Catching feral cats is thus important to reduce health risks and control their population.
One animal champion endured some pain while out catching feral cats, but the cat soon calmed down and seemingly fell in love with its rescuer!
The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) defines a feral cat as “any cat who is too poorly socialized to be handled … and who cannot be placed into a typical pet home.”
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals estimates that there are between 60 million and 100 million feral cats in the U.S.
These cats often form colonies and live in areas where shelter and food can be found, such as vacant lots and old cars. They eat from trash cans and face infection, disease, and suffer extremes in treatment and weather. Feral cats are known to decimate bird populations and pose health risks, including flea infestations.
They also go through endless cycle of breeding, since females can become pregnant as young as 16 weeks of age and produce two to three litters a year. In seven years, a single female cat and her kittens can create 420,000 more cats.
Catching feral cats as part of neutering programs help bring down the population and reduce the challenges that they bring.
According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, neutering programs entail that stray and feral cats are “humanely trapped, examined, vaccinated, and surgically sterilized by veterinarians.”
They are then returned to their environment where they are hopefully cared for. Volunteers can provide food and shelter and monitor them for sickness.
But catching feral cats is certainly not easy. Hissing and biting comes with the territory, but for cats that may still be in that borderline between stray and feral, they may be able to appreciate human care.
One animal advocate certainly found out the hard way. On a routine mission of catching feral cats, he chances upon a cat with its head trapped in can, most likely in an attempt to get the last morsel of food in the container. Carefully carrying the cat back to his car, he gently dislodges the can, and is immediately faced with an angry and terrified cat.
Wary about bringing the feral cat back into a rescue center, he talks to the cat and gives it a chance – go back to where it came from, or maybe have food and warmth in a safe environment. Fortunately, the cat decided that it was time to be saved!
After some food and gentle loving care, the cat still lets out a few hisses every now and then, but grows more comfortable around human company.
The cat soon accepts the hand of its rescuer and shows some love! Catching feral cats may be risky, but certainly has its rewards. See the feral cat transform into a tranquil pet in the video below: