Feral Cat Spay/Neuter
Feral cats are originally descended from unaltered domesticated cats (i.e. our pets) who were allowed to reproduce and whose kittens were not socialized with human contact. Feral cats are wild animals, are afraid of humans, and cannot be handled. While feral cats are truly wild, many other “community cats” tend to fall into the feral-category, including unowned strays and barn cats. These cats often group together in a “colony” around a common food source.
The number of feral cats in an area can grow very quickly without human input. The most effective and compassionate method for curbing population growth is sterilization to prevent reproduction, also known as trap-neuter-return (TNR). TNR involves the humane trapping of cats, spay or neuter surgery by a licensed veterinarian, and return of the altered cats back to the location where they were trapped. It is extremely important to note that simply trapping and permanently removing cats from an area does not reduce population size as new cats will move into the area, drawn in by the existing food source. This well-documented scientific phenomenon is referred to as the “vacuum effect.”
TNR-cats are vaccinated for rabies/FVRCP and ear-tipped, which means a small tip of the left ear is surgically removed so cats can be easily identified as incapable of reproduction and to prevent altered cats from being re-trapped for surgery.
If you have a feral or community cat in need of spay/neuter, contact our Community Cat Coordinator at (859) 233-0044 Ext. 261 or [email protected]. We have humane live traps available for lending and can assist with trapping large colonies and hard to catch cats. We’re also happy to help senior citizens and members of our community who have limitations with trapping or transporting feral cats to our clinic. We do NOT relocate feral cats to other areas.