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Author Topic: What becomes of all these cats?  (Read 10590 times)

Buffy the eggs layer

  • Joined Jun 2010
What becomes of all these cats?
« on: August 12, 2012, 09:00:20 am »
A stray / farm cat that my neighbour has been feeding on and off all year has turned up this week with three little kittens.
It was this time last year when Polly turned up looking dirty and skinny with her 4 kittens and thinking about this made me wonder what must happen to all these unwanted cats :-\
The charities that I contacted last year for help with Polly and her sickly kittens said that they were inundated with them and were keen for me to keep them as feral farm cats. Although I agreed to keep Polly and her tiniest and timidist kitten Toby, one kitten died and the other kittens were not hissing and spitting so went to Caring for cats to be tamed and rehomed together, they were the lucky ones.
Where I live the cat charity previously caught and nutered a large number of feral cats in the village and then reintroduced them to the area.  Feral cats have a hard life. They are not adopted by anyone even as farm cats, not wormed or treated for any injuries and left to feed themselves and survive the recent dry summers and bad winters. The friendly ones sometimes manage to win over people like my neighbour who feed them in exchange for vermin control but most are too shy.
I realise that I will upset some of you if I suggest the alternative but really, is it right to reintroduce them all back to the village to fend for themselves :(
Here are a couple of pics of Polly when she turned up with her little family last August and a year on after being fed, snipped, wormed, treated for fleas, lung worm and ear mites. I suppose she was one of the lucky ones. But the photos clearly illustrate the difference between a feral or stray cat and a cat who has someone to care for them.   

Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: What becomes of all these cats?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2012, 09:35:37 am »
Polly is certainly looking the picture of health now.  Well done for taking her in  :thumbsup:
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

Hermit

  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: What becomes of all these cats?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2012, 10:20:22 am »
When I worked for the RSPCA many moons ago they would trap and neuter/ treat  then release back to the farms. This halted the population to a certain extent but they could only do it if they were called and knew about the problem. This was helped by financing from wills that stipulated what the money was for rather than to the RSPCA generally and so got lost in administration. I dont know what other charities do, some understand vermin control some want all cats to be cuddly pets.

colliewoman

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Pilton
  • Caution! May spontaneously talk rabbits!
Re: What becomes of all these cats?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2012, 11:43:31 am »
My theory is, trap em spay em and release em.


It IS a hard life, but if they are just removed and rehomed there is a 'vacancy' for the next lot of ferals. Spayed and neutered and released back to their patch they have an easier time keeping themselves well fed as they don't have to work so hard feeding kittens etc. The resident non breeding colony will the keep any newcomers at bay in theory.



We'll turn the dust to soil,
Turn the rust of hate back into passion.
It's not water into wine
But it's here, and it's happening.
Massive,
but passive.


Bring the peace back

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: What becomes of all these cats?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2012, 01:30:48 pm »
There's a cat does a role here on this farm.  I'd love for her to be friendly, and get any attention she needs, but she's A Cat That Walks By Herself.  (Actually I've no idea whether it's male or female.)  After several years, I know when she'll take food if I put it out (she doesn't take it most of the time, just in icy weather really.) 

We're on a road, BH doesn't like cats in the house, I simply couldn't bring myself to fetch a cat here to live and not be able to keep it safe from the traffic.  This one arrived on her own four feet with her road (and dog and fox) sense intact, and clearly makes a living.  We've never been anything other than softly and kindly spoken to her, put food out for her when we think she may want it, but she still prefers to live in the shadows and avoid contact. 

Would she be happier if she was caught, tamed and rehomed?  I don't know.  Maybe, maybe not.  I do know that I'm glad she's here. 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Buffy the eggs layer

  • Joined Jun 2010
Re: What becomes of all these cats?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2012, 06:33:22 pm »
I dont propose that they are all tamed and rehomed as that wouldnt be realistic and perhaps they do occupy a vacancy as suggested.
I suppose some do manage to provide for themselves and are too shy to allow caring people to do much more than feed them. :-\
I just wonder what kind of life they must lead. The only life available to them perhaps ??? 

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
    • Facebook
Re: What becomes of all these cats?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2012, 06:36:43 pm »
I do see what you mean.

Our local rescue does TNR (trap neuter release) for the truely feral and tries to socialise the promising ones and kittens. I have 3 cats from a feral colony got as kittens. The were rescued at 10 weeks and rehomed at 12 weeks,, 6 months and 10 months. The first two are the tamest, soppiest sit on your lap cats ever. The most recent is still scared of us at times but has now reached the sit on your lap if you are in bed or on the sofa, and she has learnt to demand cuddles. When she first came at 10 months old you couldn't even look at her with out hissing, approach and she would lash out with intent. We got her free from the rescue as they weren't sure she would ever get homed. (may not have too much to do with topic but I love to talk about my babies and many people will say 10 weeks is too late to socialise, farless 6 or 10 months).

The issue with feral colonies, as others have said, is that if you remove them and rehome them, or PTS as I think you hinted, then another colony will just move in. Better to release them, they have a longer less stressful life without the reproductive toll, the numbers are reduced and they still play a role in pest control.

The other aspect to look at is yes a cat with a much loved home will be pampered, wormed, flea'ed, fed (possibly to obesity) and cuddled. But what does a cat actually need? It is an animal, with animal instincts. It has evolved to live in this harsh and cruel world, not to be a lap pet, the ones that are have just cashed in on an opportunity. I don't think cats that are feral and have always been feral are hurt by TNR, they don't know a loving home and many are old enough that they would hate a loving home. They are designed to live with fleas and worms, live from what they catch and cuddle each other.

In short I think that yes the quality of life may not be the same as a pampered house cat, but it is a feline life. We aren't all royalty, most of us could live better, safer, more pampered lives than we do, but we enjoy what we know despite the hardships.

Dans  :cat: :cat: :cat: :cat:

9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

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lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: What becomes of all these cats?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2012, 06:41:33 pm »
Certainly cats protection up here (Aberdeenshire) have fallen over themselves with keenness to provide us with neutered and vaccinated young cats that were rescued with Mum but are the few that wouldnt come round to taming.
We now have Percy (railway kitten found with litter mates under a signal box), now all grown up and a bit of a bruiser, and Sweep (the most timid who has now transformed into the most friendly - tho still not tame) and Soo, who only comes for occasional food and really does live off mice and wild stuff.
Hopefully no vacancy here then! And since we arent near a road they have a great life, each has a different hay barn to sleep in and they are fed and watered.

Mammyshaz

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • Durham
Re: What becomes of all these cats?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2012, 06:53:16 pm »
 A feral cat is just that, a feral animal and some would tear you to shreds soon as you get near.  :-\

We neutered many for Cats Protection when I was in private vets many years ago. They were so stressed being near people and needed heavy sedation done through a crush cage to get near them.
Living in multicat colonies, they succeed in numbers just as other group wild animals do. Along with their worms and external parasites, many make 9 or  10 years, unlike some pets which have softened to parasites and are totally incapable of now living a feral lifestyle. Pedigrees are so prone to problems and succumb to disease so quickly.
On the other hand there are some domesticated cats that long for a feral existence and leave home to live their dreams  :excited: and others try it and don't do so well, perhaps pushed out or lost. These take up residence at some kind home they find,  just like your little Polly   :cat:

Oh and forgot to say if people got their pet cats neutered by six months old then it would reduce the amount ending up joining feral colonies and adding more or starting a colony of their own  elsewhere!

« Last Edit: August 12, 2012, 09:29:38 pm by Mammyshaz »

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: What becomes of all these cats?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2012, 08:06:38 pm »
Cat owners should get their cats neutered and feral ones should be caught and neutered. IMHO

Although I suppose i everyone did that, there would be no cats  ::)

plumseverywhere

  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Worcestershire
    • Its Baaath Time
    • Facebook
Re: What becomes of all these cats?
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2012, 08:39:13 pm »
I remember when our cat fell pregnant, it was awful. We'd basically been waiting for her to put some weight on (very very skinny siameseX kitten she was) and a Tom cat (feral) actually smashed our cat flap in as we'd locked her in as we knew she was in season. He did the deed and sprayed my brand new kitchen t'boot. Git.  Anyhoo...she had 5 kittens and I felt so awful about introducing yet more cats to the population when the rehoming centres are already full and overflowing. We did manage to home them all, 2 went to live on a smallholding as pampered mousers, 1 moved to worcester as an indoor cat, one moved 2 houses down the road and we kept one. The one we kept and the neighbours one were both dead by 6 months of age - on the road outside my front door  :'(
Needless to say Snowball is now neutered and I hate all the ad's you see in preloved etc with all these kittens looking for a home when you know da*n well that the mother will most likely be pregnant again in a few months.
Smallholding in Worcestershire, making goats milk soap for www.itsbaaathtime.com and mum to 4 girls,  goats, sheep, chickens, dog, cat and garden snails...

robate55

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Suffolk
Re: What becomes of all these cats?
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2012, 09:13:43 pm »
We occasionally see a cat & see footprints in snow. In the past we have trapped one or two & sent them to the CPL. This winter 1 saw 2 older kittens in a shed during the bad weather. I then trapped 4 cats 3 female & 1 male - not 1 of the kittens. They were neutered & fleaed. After a few days in a shed, which was very stressful for them, we released them. I have seen 1 cat on 2 occasions in the last 6 months. I am sure they are still out there, but at least they are not producing loads of kittens who would probably die. Every time before I think a cat has moved in when we got rid of the others. I also think there are more cats out there living their own lives than we know. I certainly did not know there were 5 out there.
As you can see this one was very stressed in a cage
Rose
 

Buffy the eggs layer

  • Joined Jun 2010
Re: What becomes of all these cats?
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2012, 09:38:33 am »
Hi,
        thanks for all your views on this one. And I suppose you have answered my question. :) What happens to them all is that some live truly feral lives ( perhaps as nature intended) and some find caring homes.
Many it would seem find their way to lovely smallholders like yourselves who feed them and give them somewhere warm and dry to sleep in exchange for their vermin control services.
Perhaps I shouldnt have made Polly and Toby into house cats. Based on some of your experiences, the kindest thing might have been to care for them but to leave them outside to lead a more natural life. ( that would have been much cheaper for me :-\ )
 I had never had cats before so I suppose I assumed that Polly was a disguarded pet along with her kittens. As one kitten which was coughing died and Polly had a bad cough too my first reaction was to take her to the vet as I would for any of my animals. I can see now that from your posts that cats are different and do not require the same level of responcibility that other animals would need. I suppose if I hadnt fed them but had just shooed them away they would have just moved on and adapted to a wild life.
Too late kick them out now I suppose ???  They would probably manage to provide food for themselves but might miss lounging on the rug and watching You've been framed ;) Besides, OH would be heartbroken.
Here they are enduring the domesticated life (and Harry Hill) while dreaming of the freedom of a life in the wild :-J
 

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: What becomes of all these cats?
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2012, 10:09:06 am »
I think you did the right thing, for if Polly hadnt wanted to let you 'make' her into a house cat, a house cat she would not be!
I do think our ferals have the nicest lives, they are warm enough, always fed and get a stroke and a chin scratch if they want it but also the freedom they want. But if they get a bit ill, since none of them are catchable, it would require a trap cage and a lot of stress for them, much more than for a house cat, so perhaps it is swings and roundabouts on the 'best life' front.
Polly looks like she knows where she wants to be :-))))
 

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: What becomes of all these cats?
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2012, 02:19:48 pm »
the kindest thing might have been to care for them but to leave them outside to lead a more natural life.  I can see now that from your posts that cats are different and do not require the same level of responcibility that other animals would need. I suppose if I hadnt fed them but had just shooed them away they would have just moved on and adapted to a wild life.
Here they are enduring the domesticated life (and Harry Hill) while dreaming of the freedom of a life in the wild :-J

Perhaps a short, disease ridden life, breeding indiscriminately, until they die, worn out and starving?
Unfortunately too many people seem to think that cats don't need the same level of responsibility that other animals would need - which is why they dump them abuse them, move house and leave them behind.

 

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