Feral Cat Info

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What is a feral cat?

A feral cat is any cat who is too poorly socialized to be handled and cannot be placed into a typical home. Most feral cats live in groups known as colonies near homes or businesses where people feed them.

Feral cats are the offspring of lost or abandoned pet cats or other feral cats who are not spayed or neutered. Females can reproduce two to three times a year. Their kittens, if they survive, will become feral without early contact with people. Cats can become pregnant as early as four to five months of age and the number of cats in a colony rapidly increases unless the cats are spayed and neutered.

By leaving unaltered feral cats alone can cause a number of problems, including continually growing numbers of cats. Large numbers of kittens and adults from feral colonies end up in animal shelters, forcing the shelter to euthanize higher numbers of cats because they are unadoptable, or because there are just too many of them.

What is the most effective way of dealing with feral cats in my neighborhood or where I work?

The most effective way of dealing with feral cats is through a process called TNR or Trap – Neuter – Return. Cats in a colony are trapped in a humane trap, taken to a clinic where they are spayed or neutered and vaccinated, and then returned to their colony. This process improves the quality of life for feral cats, reduces their numbers, and reduces the nuisance behaviors associated with mating. Very young kittens that have been trapped may be removed, tamed and adopted into homes.

What is ear tipping?

Ear tipping is the removal of the distal one-quarter of a cat’s left ear. Ear-tipping is the preferred method to identify spayed or neutered and vaccinated feral cats, because it is difficult to get close to feral cats and therefore the identification must be visible from a distance. Feral cats may interact with a variety of caregivers, veterinarians and animal control personnel during their lifetimes and so immediate visual identification is necessary to prevent an unnecessary second trapping and surgery.


Alley Cat Guardians
1430 Carpenter Lane, Suite B
Modesto, CA 95351
209-566-CATS (2287)

ACT Spay/Neuter Clinic
327 E. Alpine Avenue
Stockton, CA 95204