Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Want to help feral cats? Do this

Feral cat Franklin watching from his hiding post
Feral Franklin watching from his post.
Almost every community has at least one feral cat. These are the kitties that hide in the shadows and run at the mere sight of a human. They may associate with other cats, including pet cats, but they are far from pets themselves. Some of these guys may have never even been touched by a human in their lives.

To some people, these feral cats are nothing more than a nuisance. They spread around smelly urine to mark their territory, and they respond to acts of kindness with nothing but fear. Some people won't consider helping them for these reasons.

The fact is, however, that these cats need our help. Without food, water and access to shelter, these cats can live brief and brutal lives. Without a spay or neuter surgery, they can produce more creatures who will live this way.

Most experts, including the ASPCA, say that feral cats should be allowed to live where they are. They do need to be altered, so the population won't grow, but then it's a simple matter of maintenance. Regular boosts of food and water, and access to shelter, is enough to keep them happy.

I have one feral cat, Franklin. He's hard to care for as he doesn't trust me and he simply refuses to approach me. When he's sick, he hides and I can't provide him with any sort of medical care. I know he's afraid much of the time, and it makes me feel awful when he scurries away at the mere sight of me.

But I know that he has two meals a day, a full water dish and a heated portion of the garage to live in. I also know that he's neutered, so he won't produce any more ferals. For now, this seems like enough and it's rewarding to know that I am providing him with an opportunity to live out his life. When I spot him stretching in the sun on hot summer days, I do feel as though I'm doing right by him.

If you think you can do the same for the ferals in your neighborhood, I urge you to try it. Click here and here for more information.