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Feral cats are not socialized to humans, and therefore are considered by many to be unadoptable. Abandoned by their human families or lost, unsterilized house cats eventually band together in groups called colonies. Without human contact for a prolonged period, the cats become feral or wild. They find places to live wherever there is a source of food and shelter (such as near dumpsters, behind restaurants, etc). Kittens born into this environment instinctively avoid humans, and unless removed from the colony a few weeks after birth may never be socialized. Unspayed feral female cats spend most of their lives pregnant and hungry, as will the female kittens that survive. Unneutered tomcats (male cats) roam to find and fight to win mates and territory and often suffer debilitating wounds in the process. Some even contract the FIV and feline leukemia viruses that can be deadly to cats. It is estimated that there is a 75% mortality rate among feral kittens.
The TRUTH about controlling the feral cat population:
It costs less to sterilize a feral cat than to have an Animal Control agent kill him or her. Not only is it inhumane to euthanize a feral cat, it is also not cost effective. The alternative, cost effective approach is to spay and neuter to control the feral cat population.
When an animal control agency removes and kills feral cats, other cats move into their territory. These unsterilized cats continue to breed prolifically and the process starts again.
TNR (trap, neuter, return) is the solution. With sterilized ferals unable to procreate, the feral cat populations gradually diminish. Annoying behaviors of mating cats, such as yowling, fighting and spraying, stop. Disease that can be contracted through mating and fighting, is greatly reduced.
The cats are vaccinated and fed on a schedule by dedicated volunteers. The ongoing care creates a safety net for both the cats and the community.
TNR is a proven effective procedure in which entire feral cat colonies are humanely trapped, evaluated, vaccinated and fixed. Kittens which can be socialized and tame cats are adopted. Adult cats too wild to be adopted are returned to live out their lives under the watchful care of sympathetic neighborhood volunteers.
This information is courtesy of: http://www.alleycat.org/