Stray and free-roaming cats are a part of the everyday landscape in cities and towns nationwide. Some of the cats you see strolling about are owned pets. Others are strays that may have been left behind by an owner that moved or are lost pets. When these stray or lost pets reproduce their offspring may grow into adulthood never having had human contact. These undomesticated offspring may act completely feral. Use care when approaching what appears to be a feral cat. Even a domesticated cat when cornered and reacting out of fear may bite and scratch.
Feeding Stray Cats
Many people feed stray and free roaming cats that they encounter
in their neighborhood, in their yards or at their workplace. Often a
strong bond is created between the feeder and the cat or group of
cats. If this is the case, there are 2 very important issues that
must be addressed:
Are the cats creating a nuisance in the neighborhood or area?
Has the feeder spayed or neutered those stray cats that are being fed?
These 2 elements are often intertwined. A few unaltered cats will reproduce at an alarming
rate and then become a nuisance. Please - if you feed stray
cats, take steps to have them altered and vaccinated. Don’t let
the cats multiply and become a nuisance.
New Jersey Trap, Neuter, Return Project
Stray cats that are cared for by humans and living outside are often part of a TNR program – Trap, Neuter, Return. The cats are humanely trapped, altered, vaccinated and returned to where they were trapped. A small section of their ear is tipped or notched. This provides a quick and easy way for an onlooker to know the cat is altered, vaccinated and being cared for. This also assures those in the area that this cat will not reproduce and if it appears to be sick or injured someone will see that it receives vet care.
This trap is set and ready. Remember, it is safest for you and the cat to use a humane trap rather than try to corner the cat to grab it.
If you are feeding stray cats or know someone who is, please take the steps to have them altered. Many municipalities support
TNR programs and even fund the procedure. In addition, there are several low cost options should your municipality not have funds available. Every Thursday, a low-cost feline clinic is held next door to the Cape May County Shelter by the Animal Alliance of Cape May County.
For information on TNR in your municipality, please call the shelter at 609-465-8923.
A cat is humanely trapped can then be transported for TNR.