Feral Colony Tales
Fraser - October 2001
It all started when
I was volunteering at a local no-kill shelter. I heard
about feral cats. I saw that the volunteers at the
shelter were trapping, neutering, vaccinating and re-releasing
feral cats. I saw that they were able to re-home some
of the kittens that were young enough to not be afraid
of people handling them.
Then came the time when I needed to get involved.
I got a call from a friend who feeds feral cats. She
had previously attempted to trap/neuter/re-release
some of the cats, but the person doing the trapping
had stopped and they only got a few of the cats neutered.
The problem was with one particular female, named Myrtle
(a.k.a. Fertile Myrtle). She had not been trapped yet
and was continuing to have litters. There are many
people who work in the area and were feeding the cats
daily. They care about these cats and wanted to stop
these cats from reproducing. One night, Myrtle brought
one of her newborn kittens to the feeding area and
left him there. We believe that she trusted the people
who fed her and she wanted them to take her kitten.
So, they did and called me to help bottle-feed this
kitten. Every night, at about midnight, she would bring
one kitten and leave it. This litter contained 4 kittens.
So, I bottle fed them and cared for them until they
were old enough to be spayed/neutered and new homes
could be found. At that time, we formulated a plan
to start trapping these cats so we could get them neutered
and vaccinated and re-released. We needed to stop this
cycle. Unfortunately, this is a high traffic area.
From time to time when kittens were born, they would
wander into the area where the cars were traveling
and didn’t survive the busy road. The plan was
in place, and I got started. The people who have been
feeding the cats would help pay for the spaying/neutering
and vaccinations, and I would donate my time to trap
and transport them to the veterinary clinic. I bought
a trap and borrowed another. I got my supplies together;
tuna with egg flavored canned food, newspaper, a couple
of sheets, and a bucket-load of patience. I set the
traps and waited. The first day I got one. The second
day, I got another. Before I knew it, I was trapping
two each day. I trapped, spayed/neutered, vaccinated
about 20 cats in about 30 days. We trapped a total
of 6 females and 14 males.
Today, all of the cats are spayed/neutered and vaccinated.
The colony is contained and there is no more worrying
about kittens being born or getting killed by cars,
etc. They are living a happier life and the people
who care for them are happier that the cats are not
I check back with the colony every so often to see
if there are any new cats that have found their way
into this colony.
Now, I am off to neuter/vaccinate another feral cat