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Starting a feral colony!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I work at a very big company, where I started not too long ago, and have noticed a bunch of stray/feral kitties around.

Someone sent an email last week saying they were keen to do some trap-neuter-return, and would anyone like to help. I let him know straight away I'd like to, and he asked if I could run with it since he didn't have time - but he'd like to help with the transporting of cats, and is happy to pay for the spay/neuter costs

So, between 2 others who are involved with TNR, I've got 4 traps that I have access to, there's a lady from a local cat group coming next week to talk to a small group of us who are interested to show us how to trap the cats, and pass on knowledge she has on keeping a feral colony.

We went out today and put out a food and water dispenser in a spot I've seen a few kitties. Hopefully by the time we learn how to use the traps we'll have some regular kitties coming to the food.

I still have to go to facilities and make sure they're happy for us to feed ferals on work property on a continuous basis, and see if they can put money into this project as well.

The local shelter where I volunteer is literally a 5 minute drive down the road (if that), and they do spays for $45 and neuters for $35 - unfortunately they got less funding this financial year for feral spay and neuters, and have run out of money to do any more freebies But there's a bunch of very generous people who I work with who I think will be happy to put money in to pay for it outright.

So if anyone has any advice about caring for strays and ferals, let me know! I've read through the links in the stickys in this forum, which were great advice!

I'll probably update this regularly on progress we make as well
post #2 of 11
What FABULOUS news!!!!!!!! That is so great that not just you, but a number of people where you work want to help!!!!!

A couple of great resources for you will be http://www.alleycat.org and http://www.bestfriends.org. Both have GREAT libraries with all kinds of really useful information.

You can also search for other sources of low-cost spay/neuter services in your area by clicking on the SaveSamoa image in my signature. And I think that http://www.pets911.com has expanded their list of low-cost spay/neuter services.

A very important thing is to make sure that whatever vet does the sterilization nips the tip off the left ear of the cat. This way you can immediately identify a cat in the trap that has already been spayed or neutered. We didn't know that feral colony caretakers did this at first, and we took a couple of cats to the vet that had already been altered.

It's also really helpful to keep a log - of when what cat was trapped. A brief description of the cat (or even take pictures) can also really be a help. It also helps you keep track of the cats in the colony.

ANY questions, just ask!

You GO girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

post #3 of 11
Oh - we would LOVE updates, and, of course, if you have any hard-to-trap kitties, we're here to send vibes your way!

Another quick tip that I don't think is in the trapping sticky: If you can, pour litter or even loose dirt (like potting soil) over the bottom of the trap to just cover the wires. A lot of cats don't like the feel of the wire on their feet and avoid the trap because of that. The litter or soil work a lot better than newspaper - and when you lift the trap, it just lifts through that stuff.

Also, for whoever is transporting the cats, make sure they cover the car seats WELL. We use large contractor garbage bags that we cut down the sides. Then we put an old blanket down. And cover the cage with a light blanket.

A lot of ferals are terrified when being transported, so they'll pee or poop or both.

Make sure you wash the cages after every trapping to eliminate the smell of other cats, fear, and the pee and/or poop. You can even spray them with some Feliway after they've been washed.

Laurie (again)
post #4 of 11
Oh. Thought of something else. If you find that the food you're leaving out is attracting other animals, put up a table - even two sawhorses with a board on them. Then put the food and water on this. It doesn't help so much with racoons, but it does help with skunks.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks so much for all the info - I have a lot of reading to do!!!
post #6 of 11
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
Wow, thanks so much for all the info - I have a lot of reading to do!!!
Don't feel overwhelmed. The reading is all kind of "extra." I'm sure the woman coming to speak to you will be very helpful. The most important thing is to ear-tip, keep track of who's been trapped, and make sure they've got food and water.

There is a bit of a debate in the "TNR" community as to whether or not to test trapped animals for FIV, FELV, etc. Most feral caretakers opt NOT to do this. It greatly increases the cost and provides very little benefit. While there are sometimes problems with FIV and FeLV within feral communities, the numbers are so low that most feel it is just not worth the expense. We don't do it, though we do get them the rabies shots - although that is required by our State law.

Good luck, and please do keep us posted!

post #7 of 11
When you are caring for ferals in public places (like a business park), it is very important to make sure that a caretaker provides food 7 days a week. It will be easy for you to do so when you are at the office, but what about weekends when no one comes to work? I've seen other groups do this and fail at this one point.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
The other lady at work feeds a feral colony near work and is happy to check the bowls when she feeds her colony. So between the 2 of us I think we can keep them fed. We have a food and water dispenser, which hold a fair bit of both, and we filled them Friday, and it was all gone today, so we're definitely going to need to check them every 2 days! The word is out that there's a new food source!

I'm meeting with the lady from the cat rescue place on Thursday, so I think we'll probably put the traps out next week some time.

By this time we will have been feeding the kitties for 2 1/2 weeks. Is that long enough do you think, or should we feed them a bit longer before we try to trap them?
post #9 of 11
The food is going, so someone's eating - and that means there's animals to trap.

I'd go for it!

This is such a wonderful thing you're doing!


post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
The other lady put down a "bin" there with food in it, so we can both fill up the dispensers easier, so I went to put a sign down on the bin to say it's ours, and there was a little grey kitty cautiously watching me! I turned around to get a handful of food to see how approachable the kitty was and when I turned back it was gone, nowhere to be found.

So I've now seen 3 kitties in the area. I can't wait to get it all set up and ready to go!
post #11 of 11

I love it!! You can start trapping anytime, in fact, if you have a large colony to trap, it is sometimes harder to catch the latter ones as they have witnessed the trapping of the earlier ones. So TNR them before more show up!
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