Feral Cat Information

What is a feral cat?

Feral cat is a term that has been used to describe a homeless cat that is undomesticated.  We consider “feral” to describe a particular behavior a cat expresses when it is not used to people or feels frightened.  It is virtually impossible to differentiate whether a frightened cat was born without human contact, formerly had human contact and became un-socialized from living on its own or if it is simply frightened.  For our purposes we choose to call these cats free-roaming and use the term “feral” to describe a behavior a free roaming cat may convey.

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Why do we ear tip cats?

Ear tipping identifies free-roaming cats that have been sterilized. Ear tipping is completely safe and it is performed under general anesthetic. Ear tipping provides immediate visual identification, which alerts animal control that a cat is part of a colony. It also helps colony caretakers track which cats have been trapped and altered, and identify newcomers who have not. Once a cat is trapped, the caretaker should look for an ear tip. If the cat has an ear tip it should be released immediately.

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Help for the stray and community cats in your neighborhood

The cats you see outside roaming neighborhoods may be owned and the owner let them outdoors.  If the cat avoids contact with you it may be  lost and afraid however many times they are feral.

A feral cat is to fearful to handle or adopt do to lack of human contact. Kittens produced by a  feral mother have a great opportunity to be socialized, sterilized and adopted if fostered at an early age. Cats can start reproducing as early as four to five months of age.

A stray cat  is lost or was abandoned, is used to contact with humans, and is tame enough to handle and is adoptable into a home.  If you find a stray always be sure to scan the cat or dog for a microchip at your local veterinarian hospital or animal shelter.  Being able to reunite a lost pet is priceless!

On October 21, 2014  Pinellas County Commissioners unanimously approved changes to its Animal Services code that will allow the start of a pilot program to trap,neuter,vaccinate and return of community cats.  Code changes will allow organizations interested in implementing a TNVR program to help control and reduce feral and free roaming cat populations in Pinellas, while educating the public on best practices to manage cat colonies. More information is available at meownowfl.org

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