Feral Cats

What is a Feral Cat?

Feral cats are members of the domestic cat species, but are not socialized to humans and are therefore not adoptable.  Cats have been living outdoors near humans for more than 10,000 years.  They typically live in groups called colonies and have strong social bonds with their colony members.

So, you're seeing cats in your yard...  Like all animals, feral cats make their home where they find shelter and food, often in close proximity to humans.  We understand that not everyone enjoys having cats in their yard, and these simple tips will help divert outdoor cats away from certain areas.  You may want the cats to stick around; some ideas below will help make areas attractive to the cats.  Coupled with Trap-Neuter-Return and ongoing care, these quick steps can help you coexist with your neighborhood cats!

5 easy steps for deterring cat behaviors

1. Talk to your neighbors.  Determine whether the cat is a pet, stray or feral, and if he has been neutered.  If not, get it done!

2. Apply nontoxic deterents around your yard.

3. Put a tight lid on your trash can.

4. Block gaps in the foundation of your house, plus all sheds and outbuildings.

5. Use a car cover.

For more information on dealing with cats visit our web page How To Live With Cats in Your Neighborhood

Because feral cats are not socialized and not adoptable, they do not belong in animal shelters, where they will be euthanized.  Instead, feral cats should be neutered, vaccinated and returned to their territory.  Lane County Animal Services no longer takes in feral cats.  Instead, we have teamed up with Greenhill Humane Society and the local veterinary community to create the Feral Fix Program.  For more information on this Trap-Neuter-Return program please call Greenhill Humane Society at 541-689-1503 or visit www.feralfix.org

Trap-Neuter-Return is an effective and humane way to stabilize feral cat populations.  Cats are humanely trapped and taken to Greenhill Humane Society, where they are neutered and then returned to their colony site. For information on the Trap-Neuter-Return program, click here

The Vacuum Effect - Animal control's traditional approach to feral cats - catch and kill - won't keep an area free of cats for long.  Catch and kill is cruel, inhumane, and creates a vacuum, as do attempts to "relocate" cats.  Known as the vacuum effect, this is a documented phenomenon in a variety of animal species throughout the world.  Once the cats are removed from a territory, other cats move in to take advantage of the newly available resources and breed, forming a new colony.  Catch and kill is an endless and costly cycle.

Discover the Truth about Feral Cats

A feral cat is not socialized to humans.  Though feral cats are members of the domestic cat species and are protected under state anti-cruelty laws, they are typically fearful of humans.

Feral cats should not be taken to animal control shelters.  Feral cats' needs are not met by the current shelter systems, because animals who are not adoptable are euthanized.  Feral cats live outside, but are killed in shelters.  Even no-kill shelters are not able to place feral cats in homes.

Feral kittens can be adopted.  Feral kittens can often be adopted into homes, but they must be socialized at an early age.  There is a critical window, and if they aren't handled in time, they will remain feral and therefore unadoptable.

Feral cats can have the same lifespan as pet cats.  And they are just as healthy, too.  The incidence of disease in feral cats is just as low as in pet cats.  They live healthy, natural lives on their own, content in their outdoor home.

Catch and kill doesn't work!!! This endless cycle is extremely costly to taxpayers.  Cats choose to reside in locations for two reasons:  there is a food source - (intended or not) - and shelter.  When cats are removed from a location, survivors breed to capacity or new cats move in.  This vacuum effect is well documented.

Trap-Neuter-Return does work.  No more kittens.  The population stabilizes and their lives are improved.  The behaviors and stresses associated with mating, such as yowling or fighting stop.  Not only does Trap-Neuter-Return make good sense, it is also a responsible, humane method of care for outdoor cats.

You can make a difference and save lives.  Together, we can educate people about feral cats and the fact that they don't belong in pounds and shelters.  To learn more or to find tools to help you spread the word in your area, go to www.alleycat.org.

High Prairie Fire Evacuation Information -

Click here for information.