Feral Cats

Feral cats are not simply strays; they are cats who have been born away from human habitation and therefore have not been handled as kittens during the critical period for socialisation. This means that they will basically behave like wild animals and become very frightened if anyone attempts to confine or handle them. Sometimes patience and care will help them to develop a degree of tolerance of humans, but they will almost always remain somewhat shy (and, for example, will be difficult to help if they need veterinary care).

Because of their fear of humans, it is almost always unfair to confine a feral cat in cattery conditions except for brief periods (for example after spaying; to give veterinary treatment, or during relocation). This is why we will not usually agree to take away healthy, free-living feral cats unless there is some serious new threat to their well-being, such as destruction of a building where they are sheltering.

If a colony of feral cats is increasing in size and starting to cause nuisance, the most humane method of control is to trap the adult cats, neuter them so that they can no longer reproduce, and then return them to the site. Any kittens young enough to tame can be kept and rehomed like normal domestic ones.

Humane traps can also be used to catch injured or sick feral cats for treatment or euthanasia.

The branch has some suitable humane cat traps which we can loan to anyone who needs to trap feral cats so that they can be neutered or given veterinary treatment. Email Janine (rehoming@rspca-cambridge.org.uk)