Feral Cat Benefits
In animated “animal” movies we are bound to see a kitty waiting outside a restaurant to receive his daily meal. We also see them being chased away by angered restaurant staff. These kitties are actually beneficial to restaurants, hospitals and the like if taken care of properly. Here is some interesting info for those who don’t know what a feral cat is, or those who would purely like to know more…
Feral cats are domestic cats that were born in the wild, have strayed or have been dumped and have reverted to a wild state. They are unfamiliar with and wary of humans and roam freely in urban and rural areas.
True feral cat behaviour is formed as a kitten being raised by their “wild” mother and playing with their siblings. Growling and hissing are self defence mechanisms although young kittens and some semi feral cats have been tamed.
Feral cats may live alone, but most are found in groups of various sizes called feral colonies, which occupy a specific territory and are usually associated with a source of food or shelter.
Famous feral cat colonies are found in Rome around the Colosseum and Forum Romanum, with cats at some of these sites being fed and vetted by volunteers.
Public attitudes towards feral cats vary widely: ranging from seeing them as free-ranging pets, to regarding them as vermin.
The common approach to stabilising a feral cat population is termed TSR (trap, sterilise, release), where the cats are trapped, sterilised and then released. Additions to their set treatment scheme could be that they are immunised against rabies and the feline leukaemia virus and treated for ticks and fleas. Before releasing them back into their feral colonies, the tip of their one ear is clipped to mark the feral as neutered and innoculated. Volunteers continue to feed and give care to these cats throughout their lives.
The life span of a feral cat is twelve and eighteen months, without having the support of a TSR programme. Ninety percent of all feral kittens die before reaching maturity. With the support of a TSR programme, their lifespan is increased, and behaviour and nuisance problems (fighting, spraying, creating noise), caused by competition for food are reduced.
Removing feral cats from a territory leaves room for a cat from another territory to move in.
Because cats are territorial, feral cats are well known for keeping down populations of rats, mice and cockroaches and in turn lessen the disease carried in to buildings etc. by such vermin.
People who enjoy watching feral cats and observing animals have been shown to have lowered their blood pressure in medical studies. In my humble opinion, having feral cat schemes at office blocks would be beneficial for highly stressed staff.
Just as domestic animals have been shown extend life expectancy, lower blood pressure, and relieve stress, caring for feral cats improves the health of their caretakers. So if you can’t keep a pet why not volunteer at a feral feeding scheme?
That being said, it would also be beneficial to residents of children’s homes, or homes for the elderly to maintain small colonies to aid their mental and physical health.
Stables have also found feral cats to be beneficial.
So, if you have feral kitties living at your office block, mall or residential complex, why not speak to your local animal shelter, or vet and ask them to assist you with a TSR scheme, and allow everyone to enjoy their added benefits…
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Posted on August 23, 2012, in Animal Welfare, Di's Articles, For Cat Lovers, Pav Feral Project and tagged alley cats, aristocats, benefits, cats, children, elderly, feed, feral cats, food, hospitals, kittens, malls, release, restaurants, schools, sterilise, trap, TSR. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.