The Colony Chronicles
Volume 2, Issue 4

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IN THIS ISSUE

Are You Having Fun?

Volunteer Highlight

FFF 50/50 Raffle

Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary

Holiday Fundraisers


Feral Cat Photos

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These photos of beautiful feral cats were contributed by a local colony caretaker.

If you would like to send us photos of your feral cats for future issue, please e-mail them to melissa@theuniquegoat.com


Holiday Tree at Pet Supplies Plus

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Forgotten Felines of Forsyth volunteers set up a Christmas Tree at Pet Supplies Plus on Reynolda Road in Winston-Salem. The tree is decorated with tags that list food and other items that FFF needs to support our program. There is a collection bin at the base of the tree. If you would like to support FFF's mission, please stop by Pet Supplies Plus and make a donation. The tree will be up through the holiday season.
(In the photo above, FFF volunteers Diana P., Carole R., and Khristin S. decorate the FFF tree).

Feral Cats: 3 Not So Simple Scenarios

By Khristin S.

The voicemail was an all too common one. "Come take these cats away." Take them where? This is a good question but one without an easy answer.

Let’s explore some of the most commonly suggested solutions by callers to the FFF phone line and why they may not be viable, necessary, or so easily accomplished.

Find them new homes or place them with an adoption group

This can be a viable option if the following conditions exist:

  • The cat is a friendly stray or small kitten that can be tamed. Keep in mind that there are already not enough homes for the friendliest of cats so placing skittish or truly feral cats in a home is not something easily accomplished. They will be competing with far more adoptable cats and you can guess who will win.
  • Someone is willing to foster the cat until a permanent home is found. This is the biggest stumbling block to this solution. Everyone would prefer that someone else foster the animal. They want an adoption group to take the animal in but, more often than not, adoption groups are overwhelmed with requests and cannot tell everyone yes. If they truly want a new home for this kitty, they will have to step up to the plate.

Relocate the cats

Relocation is the process of moving the cats from their current location to a new outdoor home. Most commonly suggested places to move cats are barns or farms.

Why this is not a viable solution:

  • There are not enough proper relocation sites to meet demand. There are not very many barns and farms, much less barns and farms looking for feral cats. Sites have to be checked out in person and long term plans must be investigated (property ownership and financial situation, among others).
  • Relocating cats is time and labor intensive, even if a proper site is found. The cats will need to be confined for at least 2-3 weeks at their new location. This involves someone willing to feed and clean their cages for that time period. This new caretaker will need to be educated on the importance of confining and care and be willing to see the process through. Someone will have to set up all of the supplies, the cats have to be trapped/transported and, often, re-vetted.
  • Relocation, even when done properly, has a low success rate. Relocated cats often are driven away from their new location by existing animals or follow their strong homing instinct and try to make their way back home, only to become lost or killed in the process. New threats at a location can be a grave danger such as coyotes or open wells. The following cats have the lowest chance of relocation success: those that are very feral, those relocated without other members of their colony, or kittens under 6 months of age relocated without their mother.
  • Removing the cats from a location will create a vacuum and more cats will just move in. This is a well-documented phenomenon. This is just trading one colony for the other and is not a lasting solution.

Relocation is not an option that FFF endorses. As seen from the above examples, relocation can be putting the cats in a worse situation that they had to begin with. Only under the following circumstances and if all other ideas/resources have been eliminated as viable possibilities should relocation even be considered:

  • The cats are being threatened in a way that cannot be legally corrected.
  • The cats’ home or shelter is being destroyed and it is impossible to migrate the cats somewhere close by.
  • The colony is banned by the property owner who will not allow you to care for them and it is impossible to migrate the cats somewhere close by.

The best option is always to attempt to find a solution that allows the cats to stay where they are because this is their "home."

Take the cats to a sanctuary

The elusive cat sanctuary is probably one of the most common misconceptions callers have. They ask, "Isn’t there a sanctuary somewhere where these 10, 20, 30 cats can go?" The answer is, unfortunately, "No."

The first problem with this approach is that much like in the relocation scenario, there are not enough legitimate cat sanctuaries to meet the demand. Anyone with a sanctuary could easily fill it up the day they open so if you do find a sanctuary that agrees to take cats, ask how they happen to have the room. Be especially suspicious of anyone that agrees to take a large number of cats.

Legitimate is a key word. Be sure to visit the sanctuary before placing any animals there. See if it appears clean and make sure the animals are not overcrowded or unhealthy in appearance. Anyone that balks at letting you visit probably has something to hide and cats should not be placed with them. Also, the financial situation of a sanctuary is important to the future continued care of the cats. Ask how they are funded. Talk to their veterinarian, if possible, about their care of the cats they already have. Property ownership is also important since a sanctuary needs to be on land they own, so investigate to make sure the sanctuary is not in a precarious position.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to do what is best for the cats. A caretaker has a responsibility to do what is safest for them, so it is essential to carefully weigh your options. For more detailed information on these topics, please visit http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/HOW_TO_RELOCATION and download and read the chapter in The Neighborhood Cats TNR Handbook on "Relocation."

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