Community cats (also known as feral, free-roaming, or unowned cats) are the offspring of lost or abandoned pet cats or other feral cats that are not spayed or neutered. Female cats can have two or three litters a year, with 3-5 kittens in a litter, and their kittens will become feral without very early contact with people. Cats can become pregnant as early as 4 months of age, and the number of cats rapidly increases without TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return).
Feral cats may live alone but are usually found in groups called feral colonies. The colony occupies and defends a specific territory where food (a restaurant, apartment or trailer park dumpster, a person who feeds them) and shelter (beneath a porch, in an abandoned building) are available. Since feral cats typically fear strangers, it is likely that people may not realize that feral cats are living nearby because the cats are rarely seen. They are elusive and do not trust humans.
WCFA supports Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR). It is the most humane and cost-effective way to manage feral cats. The traditional method used by many animal control agencies is trap and kill. Studies have shown that trap and kill do not work and is an enormous waste of taxpayers dollars. Two excellent resources on feral cats are Alley Cat Allies and Neighborhood Cats. Progressive organizations such as Best Friends Animal Society, Alley Cat Allies, PetSmart Charities, Petco Foundation support TNR and communities across the country are seeing the benefits of TNR.
WCFA will work with feral cat caregivers in Mesquite, Nevada and the Arizona Strip communities of Scenic, Beaver Dam, Littlefield and Desert Springs. We can provide advice, traps and spay and neuter of feral cats. In the Arizona Strip, we can collaborate with Best Friends Animal Society's community cat program to provide spay/neuter services if there are many cats to TNR. All cats that are fixed under our feral program are checked for parasites, given rabies vaccination and ear tipped. Ear tipping is the universal sign that a feral cat has been spayed/neutered.
A caretaker (probably the person who was already feeding the cats) makes sure that there is clean water, food and waterproof shelter for the cats. The caretaker also monitors the colony for health problems and keeps an eye out for the occasional new member, making sure it is trapped and spayed or neutered.