Recently it seems that there seem to be quite a few wandering, homeless cats in our area than ever before, especially in the Keene and Keene Valley area. Many people inadvertantly encourage the growth of these feral cat colonies by feeding them. Before they know it, there are two to three times more than they started with. It is easy to see how quickly the numbers can multiply! In fact, the number of feral cats in the United States is estimated to be in the tens of millions! The ASPCA endorses trapping, neutering, and returning (TNA) these wild felines to their environment.
So how do I capture a wild creature that won't even allow me to get close to it? First, you need to acquire a humane trap. Hav-a-Hart is a source to purchase a trap, or you can contact the NCSPCA to borrow one.
The ASPCA offers the following tips: Trap only in a dry, temperate area. Do not feed the cats for at least 8 hours before trapping; they must be hungry to enter the trap. Inform any neighbors prior to setting up the trap that they may want to keep their own kitties indoors for the duration. Tuna and canned cat food work well in traps; place the food inside the release bar at the back of the trap so the cat is sure to step on the trigger plate when eating. Place a sheet or towel over the trap so the cat feels secure to reduce anxiety. Transport the trapped cat to your veterinarian for spaying and neutering immediately upon capture. Finally, ask that the cat be ear-tipped-have the tip of one ear snipped during surgery-to help future rescuers identify him. This is a painless and risk-free procedure.
If you are concerned about the cost of neutering the feral cat, ask your veterinarian about possible reduced costs. Often your expense can be lowered significantly, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing you have contributed to reducing the growth of your feral cat community.