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Looking ahead to the upcoming kitten season, it’s important to take action to help stray and feral cats. Taking steps to contain a nomadic cat may help reunite a lost cat with his family, alert a cat’s owner that didn’t know the animal’s roaming tendencies, or prevent a stray from birthing kittens in a backyard.
Besides worms and fleas, the urban drifter faces many hazards outdoors. When people see an injured homeless cat, it is important to call a cat rescue for help. Common injuries for an outdoor cat’s lifestyle include, being hit by traffic or mauled by dogs after tight-roping a neighbor’s fence.
Without receiving veterinary treatment after an incident, injuries could escalate and lead to an untimely death. Medical care costs can detour most any ?rescue hearted person? or an animal charity’s budget without the pubic pledging to replenishing their donations.
At the Community Animal Network (Newport Beach, California), I witnessed far too many injured outdoor cats. Their x-ray images, riddled with BB pellets, indicate that many cats are living with metal objects encapsulated under their skin after being shot. Decades of calls received by the rescue, prove that outdoor cats have been deemed a nuisance. Many cats have been deliberately poisoned with anti-freeze, which is a particularly cruel death.
If you can help a cat, your neighborhood could avoid the many pitfalls some housing communities face. To stop your area from becoming a birthing ground for feral cats, those untouched by loving human hands, animal lovers must act. Sadly, feral adult cats have little chance of finding rescue, and death often awaits them at municipal shelters across America.

The following are good reasons to help a stray cat:
1) A single, unaltered stray cat bears an average of five kittens in a litter and females can have three pregnancies a year.
At four months of age, a teenage male is capable of impregnating females in heat- even his siblings or mother. Females are fertile at five months old and have a gestation period of only 65 days.
2) When tenants move from apartment communities and leave unaltered cats, there can be sleepless nights ahead for the remaining tenants. Cats in heat are noisy and howl to attract males. In the still of the night screeching of dominant males can be heard as they fight over females ?in season?.
3) Cats communicate by spraying; fences, parked cars, and even some indoor areas to mark territory and communicate with females their availability. Some cat haters poison and use inhumane tactics to irradiate the problem.
4) Property values drop in areas that reveal high volumes of stray and feral cats! Rising populations of feral cats and kittens, coupled with the smell of cat spray, drives housing prices down and can cause tenants to move.
5) As the population of birthing females rises, rescue organizations? funds become depleted more quickly. Financial restraints are not the only limitation for a rescue, as volunteers are always in short supply.

TNR is a term that rescue groups use for humanely handling an escalating cat overpopulation problem. The term means, “Trap, Neuter and Return” not “Trap, Neuter and Remove”, which is what is often expected.
According to statistics, eighty percent of all cats entering the U.S. shelter system are feral. California animal control and shelters spend fifty million dollars a year handling cat related expenses. There are just three outcomes for a cat entering a municipal shelter; be reunited with its owner, adopted, or euthanized.
Getting involved with homeless cats in your community will help manage populations and prevent unnecessary deaths. TNR is known to humanely control the birthing of feral cats in apartment communities, industrial areas, and in neighborhoods before it becomes unmanageable and is highly recommended by cat rescue organizations as the best solution.
There is often a need for a safe relocation of feral cats, although there are not always options of anywhere to move them. Trapping and releasing cats other than in familiar territory is not humane or advisable, and may not be legal without preparation of managed feeding stations.
Properly relocating stray and feral cats requires purchasing property and coordinating people that will care and feed the animals at a greater cost than many local rescues can provide.
In California, The Cat House on The Kings is well recognized for accepting feral cats and charges a relinquishing fee of $5,000 per animal. Helping just one stray cat saves many lives before there is a rising cat population in your area.

Appeared in Holiday 2017 Issue

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