Dealing with feral cats

Steve Dale and Bill Moller talk about how people are handling feral cats in cities, and what they should do to solve the problem.

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A feral cat runs through the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. (Tom Van Dyke/Chicago Tribune)

2 comments

  • Doreen Schweitzer

    I have never had pets in my home, that is besides fish. Last August while visiting the farm my sister and I inherited from my Mom, my niece ran out to greet me saying "We have kittens!" I grimaced because no one is there to feed the cats regularly. Later we spotted one near an outbuilding. As we approached it, it was meowing and we meowed back. Before we knew it, a long haired calico kitten was rubbing against our legs. We knew there were more and the next day while working in the garden another grey tabby ventured out to eat some food I had left. We went away to Door County for a few days and I pondered what to do. I knew I couldn't leave the cats to die. My decision was hastened by the fact that at least one was living in the corn field and the corn was ripe. In fact I noticed the combine parked next to the farmer's house that rented the land. That was the final blow. So I borrowed a live trap from him and went home with 3 ferel kittens. The first one in the trap by the way, bite me hard within 15 seconds of meeting him. I had to take him now- no rabies shots for me and if I was going to take the biter I was definately going to take the loving little calico and if I was taking 2 well………….. Long story short it took 2 months for the grey tabby to let me touch her. The calico of course was a love from the beginning although she did challenge me when she stopped using the litter box after a week and a half. I finally observed her eating the litter. It was corn based and she had been living on field corn. She of course was not going to do her business where she ate. The problem was solved in 5 seconds when I bought clay based litter. The grey kitten, Sylvie and the calico that I named after my mother Nettie, are now happily living with my son who actually was looking for kittens when they first were found. The third light orange tabby, grumpy Buster as I named him, is now my lovey boy but it took four months before he let me touch him. Even then as he was eating from a dish on my lap he backed up, after enjoying a long scratch behind the ears and at the base of the tail and bit me. After that I knew I was close and within a week and a half he let me pick him up. I had good advice along the way from a friend who has socialized 19 ferel cats. It was expensive over $2000.00. There is a website called Ferel Fixers which was helpful. Buster really couldn't come around till the others were gone and I could concentrate on using food to bring him around. They have taught me tons of patience. It is so much easier having 1 cat than 3. I would not recommend 3 to anyone. I can see how 2 would be a good. We felt bad breaking them up but at this point at least they still seem OK with kitty visits. I have not seen any adult cats at the farm recently and the real challenge will be if I do, figuring out if I can get them fixed. They will be very wild.

  • woodsman001

    Be cautious about suggesting that any cats rounded-up from outdoors be used for adoption or you could be held criminally responsible. There's no way to know a wild-harvested cats' vaccination history, if any, nor their exposure to all the deadly diseases cats carry. If a cat has contracted rabies then a vaccination against it later will do no good. It's already too late. There's also no reliable known test for rabies while keeping the animal alive. They really need to be destroyed after they are trapped. It's the only sane and sensible solution. This is precisely why all wild-harvested animals in the world, of any type intended for the pet-industry must, BY LAW, undergo an extended quarantine period for a MINIMUM of 6 months before transfer or sale of those animals to prevent just these things. Cats are no different than any other animal when harvested from the wild. You're just risking this following story happening in every shelter across the land.

    (Google for: rabid cat adopted wake county)

    Another example, of thousands: (Google for: rabid kitten found jamestown exposure)

    Adopting or approaching any unknown cat that's been outdoors is just playing Russian Roulette.

    The net is flooded with similar examples every week. THOUSANDS of people must endure, pay for (out of their own pocket) the painful and expensive (more than $1000) rabies shots if they get scratched or bitten by any stray or feral cat, especially if that cat cannot be trapped again to destroy it and test it for rabies. Stray-cat feeders are guaranteeing this, by training and teaching these cats to approach humans for food. These cats then lashing out by biting or scratching at any hands that try to touch or pet them.

    Even vaccinating your cat against rabies won't prevent it from finding the nearest rabid bat dying on the ground to rip it to shreds for its daily cat's play-toy. Then bringing back a mouthful or claws full of fresh rabies virus to you, your family, neighbors, other pets, or other animals. ANY cat allowed outdoors can transmit rabies to others, vaccinated or not.

    These are just the diseases they've been spreading to humans, not counting the ones they spread to all wildlife. THERE ARE NO VACCINES against many of these, and are in-fact listed as bio-terrorism agents. They include: Campylobacter Infection, Cat Scratch Disease, Coxiella burnetti Infection (Q fever), Cryptosporidium Infection, Dipylidium Infection (tapeworm), Hookworm Infection, Leptospira Infection, Giardia, Plague, Rabies, Ringworm, Salmonella Infection, Toxocara Infection, Toxoplasma. [Centers for Disease Control, July 2010] Sarcosporidiosis, Flea-borne Typhus, Tularemia, and Rat Bite Fever can now also be added to that list.

    (Links to proof of cats spreading many of these removed per post requirement. Businesses have even been ruined by some of them. Like those in Miami being shut-down due to feral-cats spreading hookworm in all the beaches there. The most surprising in my research is that people have already died from cat to human transmitted plague in the USA. Fleas and rats not even required if you have cats around. The cats themselves are carriers and spreaders of the plague. Totally disproving that oft-spewed myth about lack of cats causing the plague in Europe. Cats would have made it worse.)

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