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As with so many topics, people's opinions of cats tend to fall into one of three categories: like ambivalence, or dislike. At either end of the spectrum are cat lovers and cat haters, and for both of these groups, feral cats are a cause for concern in many neighbourhoods.  Regardless of your opinion of cats, there is one best solution for dealing with ferals, and that is to have a group of concerned neighborhood citizens organize a colony management plan.

Problems with ferals[]

Although those of us who adore the feline species might find it hard to understand how any cat could be a nuisance, free-roaming and homeless cats can cause problems for some. They may antagonize dogs and other cats, use flower beds as litter boxes, mark territory with smelly deposits, and kill songbirds.

Poor choices and a plan for a solution that works[]

Annoyed humans have come up with a variety of ways to handle unwanted cats including deterrents, hazing, trapping and dumping, trapping and surrendering to a shelter, poisoning, and even shooting. Needless to say, these methods range from cruel to downright inhumane, and some also can impact other animals and wildlife. None of them are effective in the long run because removing the cats simply leaves room in the territory for other cats to move in.

The first step must be to identify the people in the area who are willing and able to help. It is important to organize their time and efforts so every job is covered and no resources are wasted. Reaching out to TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return; see more here [1]https://www.alleycat.org/our-work/trap-neuter-return/ ) groups and local shelters and or rescues is the next step, because they may have traps to borrow and invaluable tips and advice. Next comes setting up a feeding station in a quiet location; this will attract the cats and begin to habituate them to humans. Once they are used to people coming and going, traps can be set. Each female cat can produce 4 litters of kittens annually, and each female kitten can become pregnant as young as 4 months old, thereby giving birth to her first litter at 6 months of age. The potential for population growth is exponential without intervention. Getting the cats spayed or neutered and vaccinated will inhibit the colony's size dramatically. Additionally, spayed and neutered cats do not mark territory as much, make as much noise, or get into altercations as do intact cats, and the vaccinations prevent the spread of diseases.

A managed cat colony is in the best interest for all involved; the cats are healthier and less of a nuisance to a neighborhood, and may even bring the benefit of rodent control.

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