Is spay/neuter/release working? Statistics from the San Diego Department of Animal Control as of 6/30/97 show that while the number of cats adopted or claimed by owners has remained fairly constant over the years, there has been a decrease of almost 50% in the number of cats impounded and killed as compared to 1992 (when the FCC clinics started). Before the FCC was formed, the number of cats impounded and killed had been going up 15% per year!So, you ask, what exactly is a feral cat??? Read on, and you'll learn more about a problem that's causing a lot of suffering --- and costing you money!!!
Feral cats are the 'wild' offspring of domestic cats and are primarily the result of pet owners' abandonment or failure to spay and neuter their animals, allowing them to breed uncontrolled. Feral cat 'colonies' can be found behind shopping areas or businesses, in alleys, parks, abandoned buildings, and rural areas. They are elusive and do not trust humans.
Many people assume their animals will survive when they move away and leave them behind. Contrary to popular belief, domestic animals do not automatically return to their "natural" instincts and cannot fend for themselves! Already, U.S. animal shelters are forced to kill an estimated 15 million homeless cats and dogs annually. The alternative to humane euthanasia for almost every stray is a violent end or slow, painful death. Many "throwaways" die mercilessly outdoors from starvation, disease, abuse --- or as food to a predator.
A pair of breeding cats, which can have two or more litters per year, can exponentially produce 420,000 offspring over a seven-year period, And the overpopulation problem carries a hefty price tag. Statewide, more than $50 million (largely from taxes) is spent by animal control agencies and shelters for cat-related expenses.
In response to this staggering problem, the Feral Cat Coalition was formed by Sally Mackler and Rochelle Brinton DVM. The FCC is an organization that traps and spays/neuters feral cats, then returns them to their caretakers. This service is provided to the community at no cost by licensed veterinarians and volunteers with one goal in mind: reducing the enormous number of homeless, unwanted cats.
Studies have proven that trap-neuter-release is the single most successful method of stabilizing and maintaining healthy feral cat colonies with the least possible cost to local governments and residents, while providing the best life for the animals themselves. Spaying/neutering homeless cats:
Stabilizes the population at manageable levels
Eliminates annoying behaviors associated with mating
Is humane to the animals and fosters compassion in the neighborhoods
Is more effective and less costly than repeated attempts at extermination --- costs for repeatedly trapping and killing feral colonies are far higher than promoting stable, non-breeding colonies in the same location. Vacated areas are soon filled by other cats who start the breeding process over again
Spay or neuter your own pet! Sterilizing animals is an important step in maintaining their good health. In San Diego, Pet Assistance (619-544-1222) can provide information on low-cost spay/neuter services in your area.
Make a reservation, then bring stray, unowned cats to one of our monthly clinics! Humane traps ( with instructions ) are available to borrow. Call the number below for upcoming clinic locations---but please be patient---we often have a waiting list for traps, and clinics are only once a month.
Become a volunteer and encourage your personal veterinarian to become involved!
Tell people about the FCC! If someone you know is caring for stray, unowned cats let them know about our services. Education is the key, so make others aware of the feral cat problem and tell them how they can help!
If you are interested in starting a program in your area, contact the Feral Cat Coalition. We have detailed information that will help you get up and running....plus, some of it is just interesting reading. Most of our printed information is available by following the links below. If, for some reason, you are unable to take advantage of this information in electronic form, or if your needs extend beyond the scope of topics covered here, feel free to contact us.
...The long awaited FCC video is now available.
... Pictures from Feral Cat Coalition clinics (please allow time for the images to load).
...The Feral Cat Coalition policy regarding testing/vaccination for FeLV/FIV/FIP
...An excellent report on Trap/Alter/Release Programs by Karen Johnson
...A source for humane traps
...Instructions for trapping feral cats
...An article by Sara Pehrsson from Cats Magazine August 1995
...An article by Susan Easterly from Cat Fancy Magazine November 1994
...Raising Orphan Kittens ...a helpful summary of tips for dealing with abandoned kittens
...Taming Feral Kittens ...a guide to taming and socializing feral kittens
...Complete details for running an FCC-type clinic (procedures)
... Comments by Dr. W. Marvin Mackie regarding the 'need for speed' in veterinary practices. (Needs to be read carefuly from top to bottom)
... Study by Dr. Karl Zaunbrecher addressing the link between altering and feral population stabilization. (Currently unavailable)
... Please help the Feral Cat Coalition build a national registry of feral programs and no-kill shelters.
... FCC t-shirts make great gifts. Help our cause and look great too.
... A great article by Dr. David Zanders dispelling some common myths about Spay/Neuter.
... The Race To Outpace Feral Cat Over-population, a symposium presentation by Linda Kelson, Feral Cat Coalition board member.... A Model For Humane Reduction of Feral Cat Populations by FCC's Dr. Michelle Chappell.
... Why Feral Eradication Won't Work ...an article pointing out the problems with eradication programs.
... The American Feral Cat Problem ...an older, but still valid article.
... The Unsociable Cat ...are cats really solitary creatures?
Please send your tax-deductible contributions to:
FERAL CAT COALITION
9528 MIRAMAR ROAD
SAN DIEGO, CA 92126
You can reach our message center at (619) 497-1599 (local calls only please), or send us e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Last update March 15, 2004
© 2001 Feral Cat Coalition / Ray Savage
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