Feral Cat Colonies
Colonies of Feral and semi-feral cats do a fantastic job controlling the rat and mouse population, however, if they are allowed to breed uncontrolled they can become a problem. This page is designed to give more information on feral cats and what you can do to help them.
Feral cats can be humanely trapped, neutered, wormed and flea treated, possibly for the first and last time in their lives. They are also painlessly ear tipped to indicate that they are neutered, then returned to the area they came from providing there is someone who will feed them. Ear tipping is a signal to all trappers that a cat is neutered and they will release it immediately to prevent further trauma.
We will trap, neuter and release local ferals in certain areas of West Yorkshire.
We have a Feral Fund which we use to treat injuries which our vet finds when he neuters them, like the girl in the picture above who had become entangled in plastic netting. Other injuries can be from pellet injuries, bite injuries, road traffic accidents and machinery injuries.
Donations can be made through PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org using the family and friends option and quoting Feral Fund, or click on the donate button below.
Ferals are excellent at keeping the local rodent population down, so if you have a problem with rats or mice, or have a smallholding, stables, kennels, or factory etc which would take a neutered feral to control the vermin please let us know. All they require is shelter, food and water.
Feral kittens have a hard time.
Foxes will take feral kittens to feed their young and unneutered tom cats in the colony will kill the kittens in order to bring the mother back into season to increase the spread of their own genes.
If the kittens are caught young enough, they can be tamed and successfully re-homed as domestic cats where they will be cared for.
A Feral Story (we love a happy ending)
We were called out to a house that a mama cat had moved her kittens into.
The house was full of rubbish and broken glass which was a hazard to the kittens.
On the first day our volunteers managed to trap 2 kittens. They went back over a few days and managed to trap the mum, dad, 3 kittens and another adult female.
The kittens were socialised by a fosterer that is experienced in socialising ferals.
The kittens were then rehomed. The mum and other female were very friendly and were also rehomed. The father was neutered and then rereleased.
A Feral Story 2 (not all endings are happy)
We were called to a feral cat colony that had become out of control. The cats were being fed by a kind gentleman that had become attached to the ferals however he asked for help to stop the colony becoming even bigger.
The colony was made up of a number of adults, approximately 20 juveniles and approximately 15 kittens (under 12 weeks). Some of the kittens and juveniles were simply picked up by our volunteers but the majority of them had to be trapped.
28 of the kittens and juveniles were sent to our foster homes to be socialised. The majority of the others were feral and past the point where they could be socialised, therefore they were neutered and released or farm placements were found for them.
4 weeks after beginning trapping we received terrible news. Jeeves, a juvenile about 4-6 months old had died at a fosterers home and a postmortem revealed that it was panleukopenia (also know as FP and Parvo). This unfortunately meant that the whole colony probably had the disease too, and before long 2 more juveniles and a kitten had died. As the disease is spread through urine, stool and mucus the likelihood of the other cats and kitten having FP too was very high. 11 kittens and juveniles in different foster homes also began to show symptoms of the disease and sadly had to be put to sleep to end the pain and suffering. In total 15 kittens and juveniles crossed rainbow bridge and the foster homes they were in were put on a 3 month lockdown to prevent spread of the disease throughout the rescue.
Despite all this sadness we still had some hope… 3 kittens had been brought into rescue to be hand reared as their mum was rejecting them and a further 3 had been brought in at 5 weeks old a few days later. These kittens may not have been exposed to the disease as they were too young to use communal areas that the infected kittens used. All the kittens had to be handreared and monitored very closely.
UPDATE* All the handrear kittens survived and are now all in their forever homes (3 were adopted by our fosters who couldn’t bare to part with them). They are doing very well and since then we have had another 3 kittens from this feral colony that were young enough to have not been exposed to the disease. They were around 10 weeks old and went to a foster home to be socialised. They are also now in forever homes (2 of them went together and 1 of them went with a kitten from another litter).
Although it sounds like a happy ending with 0 of the kittens surviving, lets not forget about the 15 kittens that died of this awful disease. If you see a stray or feral cat please report it before it starts it’s own feral colony.
Help feed homeless cats!
Ferals have a hard time getting sufficient food especially in the winter. Please set up an area where you can feed them regularly. It doesn’t have to be expensive food. Own brand tinned food and biscuits mixed with kitchen scraps make an adequate meal for a feral. Feed them at the same time in an evening (ferals are more active at night) and they will be pleased to receive a meal, if only every other day. Don’t forget that ferals need fresh water too!
Polystyrene boxes can make snug sleeping areas for ferals. They can be obtained from larger pet stores selling frozen pet food, some supermarkets and butchers shops. Simply tape the lid on, turn the box upside down, make a cat sized hole and fill with straw. Place in a sheltered spot with the hole facing south and your local feral will have a warm place to sleep. Why not contact us and see if we have some for your ferals.
Panacur granules mixed with a tasty meal on 3 consecutive days, on a 3 monthly basis will treat for roundworms, tapeworms and giardia. Similarly fleas can be treated with Capstar tablets, again crushed and mixed in food during the summer months. These should keep your ferals worm and flea free as far as possible.
We have several humane cat traps which will safely trap feral and semi feral cats.
Contact us if you know of any colonies which need our help. These cats are usually neutered, de-flead and wormed and are also ear tipped to indicate they have been neutered in case they are caught at any stage in the future. They are then returned to the area they know which will keep neighbouring cats out and the rodent population down.
Our traps can be loaned on condition they are not used in wet weather (we don’t want them to rust) and they must be under cover in the garden of a responsible individual who will bait and set the trap as necessary (we will show you how to do this) and inform us when an animal is caught. Traps can only be used from Sunday evening until Thursday morning as vets do not neuter over the weekend.