Feral Colony Tales
By Diane 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 reproducing.
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 colony.