About four years ago, my cat Miracle got fed up with living with a big dog, and she took up residence down the street, where there is a creek, lots of foliage, brush, and trees. She survived there by staying up high above the creek. It took me ten days to coax her back home. I would go down there before dawn, and she would come out to see me but would not let me touch her. So I then decided to rent a trap. I put tuna in it three days in a row before I got her to take the bait! At home she slept for two days and did not leave again, but still hated the dog at the house and yelled at him every chance she got.
I have friends who have trapped feral cats to get them neutered or spayed, then followed by socializing them and adopting them out. One friend did this with 25 cats. Recently I discovered an organization called ”Alley Cat Allies.” They are a volunteer-run network, operating in the US and around the world. They have been in Dallas for over 30 years, promoting what they call “TNR: trap, neuter, and return.” This organization teaches people how to trap cats, to neuter them and then let them go back to living outside. I am so surprised and pleased that these people take an interest in reducing the cat population and keeping them safe!
Alley Cat Allies has three goals:
This is a whole new way for me to think about “alley cats.” One experiment was done near San Francisco where the “cat colony” was developed by TNR over a period of 16 years and now there are very few feral kittens.
The universal sign that a cat has been neutered is either a tattoo on the lower abdomen or a clipped ear. Sometimes they also have been vaccinated, but you should not count on this. Alley Cat Allies also promotes chipping and scanning. Scanners have been put in police precincts and training done on how to use the scanner. You can buy a small scanner to find out if cats have been chipped. Studies have been done that show that feral cats do not spread disease; that in fact they are not more often sick than domesticated cats, although this is controversial and more studies are needed.
If you want to read more about this organization, including webinars, or to find resources near you, you can check them out at Alleycat.org.