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Ideas for Ferals without much Hope

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for a solution that perhaps has evaded me. I am desperate to try and remedy a situation that is seen as pretty much hopeless. This will be long I'm sure, hope that will be alright.

Where I live is considered rural (all of the houses are on previous farmland. We are zoned agricultural, no limits on types or kinds of animals. Everyone owns 5 acres of land that run from the road, backwards, towards the railroad tracks. Perhaps an acre between houses. The interstate can be seen from my patio doors! It is similar to a sub-division to look at this area. There are a diverse group of people who live on my road ie: Elderly, Young Families, Hmoung, Meninites. We have lived here six years or more and about a year and a half ago is when the Feral Cats started showing up.

We all know where these cats originated from and still the majority come from. Down around the bend..............they have since migrated this way and are currently mostly at my neighbors and my house. I started with one, then her sister and now have more than I can count. My neighbor has quite a few also. For the last ten months or so the two of us have rehomed thirty kittens. (The neighbor and I do not work together with these cats, just talk on occasion)

I have hesitated to post this as I do know that all of us who feed them are the 'real problem' and that being said I will also state that I'm personally tired of being blamed for that and this is why. Blame to me is an excuse for a problem or a situation not a solution. Killing them was never in my thought process, nor is it now. When this all began, which is now a lontime ago already, my intentions were to seek help with Spay and Neuter and I did just that. I read all that was available on TNR, then contacted the No Kill Shelter in a neighboring city (that was after I called the Town Chairman and he asked if it would be ok to SHOOT then on our property or did he need to find a way to catch them!!!! Only good cat is a dead cat. TNR you say, haha he says. The No Kill Shelter had heard of TNR but isn't practicing that, nor do they have traps to loan out. They consulted there Board of Directors and agreed a month later, that if we would trap them (buy our own traps), bring them in, one or two at a time, call first because this week might not be ok, they would do the following: Test them for Feline Leuk/FIV and FIP (did you know there is a test for FIP?!, no talking to them about that either) and they would decide who they would spay/send back or not based on their plan for the day. But they did say that someone would be with them when they were euthanized so they wouldn't be alone. My DH said perhaps we should just euthanize them ourselves. The No Kill Shelter also refused to take any of the tame adoptable kittens and we were told they would be euthed before they got in the building. We went there twice to talk with them in person also.

Then after going West I decided to go East, the Humane Society there has an TNR program, not talked about publicly. They were great and did let me in on late this Spring they maybe going to expand to out of county folks. Wait and see. Late Spring Maybe is going to be too late! They cannot help us other than that as we do not reside in their county.

I called local Vet Clinics including my Vet of thirty years to see about a discount for Ferrals. 10 percent because my DH is a senior. $110. for Spay and $85 for Neuter. No one else was interested in doing much with Ferals. Vets are 'For Profit' and many of the local ones have just built huge new buildings. (Our people population here is rapidly increasing)

The closet spay/neuter clinic is over 2 hours away and they charge $40. It is also required by law to vaccinate for rabies, additional charge(s).

I've been trying the best I can. Do need to add that I am Disabled due to several auto-immune diseases so am limited in how much I can do and can't do. We cannot afford to to pay Thousands of dollars to spay and neuter them. Yes to all of you who think I should have not fed them, the problem is this, I should of fed them once, caught them and took them to have their blood on someone elses hands but I did not. I cannot go backwards, all that can be done now is try to find a solution. I'm human and when I look at them everyday I see no good reason for them to die. I am one of the 'last' in the chain of 'done these cats wrong' and do take offense to being the last and made to feel as if it all rests on what I did or did not do. All of my furkids are spayed/neutered and not allowed to reproduce. They are fed the best of foods and vetted regularily. We just cannot afford to do these guys.

ok enough of a vent, that was not my intention, what I really need is anyone to toss somemore ideas out my way. Is there something that was missed on my part? and if there aren't any solutions how can I be ok with their deaths.

Thank you for your time and allowing me to write this. As you can tell I'm quite frustrated.
post #2 of 29
Having gone thru a similar situation in my last rural home (10 acre lots rather than 5 acre lots), here's a number of things that got me through it.

I called every last vet in the area that was a reasonable drive for me. It turns out that my vet decided to charge me his cost for a speuter ($25) and I just bucked up and paid it. At first I borrowed live traps from the Humane Society, then borrowed one from my vet, then eventually bought my own live trap.

I tried for a long time to find resources to help me. Eventually I found a no kill shelter that would help folks with trapping and made referrals to vets for low cost/no cost speuters. Have you exhausted all avenues of rescue resources in your area? One way to find out who is out there is through . Do a search for cats within your area (enter your zip code) and it will list the adoptables. The cats will be listed by rescue group and you can click on that group to find out more about them. Keep calling around until you find someone who can help in your area.

There are others on this site that have specific resources that offer low cost spay/neuter. I have the list in my area but that won't help you in Wisconsin.

Did this help?
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks Momofmany, Did already try PetFinder when I was looking for a Rescue Group, none are close or are area specific. Will try calling somemore Vets, did not call them all. This morning I also looked at a web-site called 911can"t remember the whole name for low cost spay and neuter and the shelter that does TNR was listed so will call them back and ask again. Perhaps the person I spoke with before just was unaware. Thanx again.
post #4 of 29
Tomahawk Live Trap Company
P.O. Box 323
Tomahawk WI 54487
Phone: (715) 453-3550 or
Fax: (715) 453-4326

Your situation sounds very difficult. Thank you for keeping on when it has been so hard. Not everyone does, as you've discovered.

Buying a trap might not be as expensive as you think. According to a San Diego website, the above group sells them for $36 -- and they are right in Wisconsin.

I have had a lot of help from one woman who represents Catsnippers. A group that is part of Best Friends of Utah. Maybe if you contacted them, there might be someone in your area that can help you.

Don't feel too pressured to find homes for all the kittens. It's not always possible. Just spay/neuter as many of them as you can, even if you have to return them to the group. At least they will be with their families.

The important thing is to keep doing what you have done by coming on tcs. Keep asking for help from as many people and groups as you can think of. Eventually something will click for you and it will start getting easier.

Good luck with your cats.
post #5 of 29
Originally Posted by katie=^..^= View Post
Tomahawk Live Trap Company
P.O. Box 323
Tomahawk WI 54487
Phone: (715) 453-3550 or
Fax: (715) 453-4326

Buying a trap might not be as expensive as you think. According to a San Diego website, the above group sells them for $36 -- and they are right in Wisconsin.
post #6 of 29
If I had a mansion and lots of money, I always wanted to try having 5-10 ferals live inside the house in a few rooms, getting lots of attention and care, and see if they really can adjust to living inside and depending on people, even if it takes months.

Most TNR places say they cant, but when do you hear of many people even trying?

An even BIGGER idea is make a Feral only rescue, if those cats could eventually be adoptable that would be super rewarding and change how we think about Ferals to date.

Anyway I cant try unless I win lots of money, but it's nice to dream about.
post #7 of 29
When you're in a rural area without resources, it can be really difficult - especially as those colonies multiply.

Have you written to Alley Cat Allies at to ask for their Feral Friends Network information - if there are any - in your area?

Have you also tried contacting the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Campaign Network at

The site and specific page you were referring to is:

Also, you can click on the right-hand picture in my signature line to find more links to search more places for low-cost spay-neuter.

You can also try the World Animal Net Directory to see if anything turns up that may be worth a call - even to see if they're familiar with anyone TNRing in the area or any low-cost spay/neuter services that may be more accessible:

....and you're already searched the Alley Cat Allies' TNR organizations list?

The other thing to consider doing, if you can, is to drive around to the local vets rather than calling. Some places will say they don't provide TNR to ferals at a discount because people bring in their indoor/outdoor pets. But if you explain in person the problem, the size of the colony, your limited resources, your desire to save the animals but prevent them from reproducing - and that you want them ear-tipped, you may get a different response than you would over the phone. Also, whether they'll help or not, it still doesn't hurt to ask if they're familiar with the "crazy cat person" in the area who may be willing to help you. We live in rural NJ - which I know is nothing like Rural WI (been there!) - but all the vets within a 30 - 40 mile radius of us know to take someone's name and number and get it to us if someone's looking for help.

The other thing to consider is using the resource guides available at the Best Friends site ( or the Alley Cat Allies site ( - and with forms available online, create your own TNR organization, and file for 501(3)c status (tax deductible status) so that all the money you do spend on feeding and TNR can be tax-deductible. Filing for the organization and getting the Tax ID number is a breeze - it's waiting for the "Charitable Org" status that can take a while (like a year sometimes).

I hope some of these ideas and links are helpful.

Thank you for caring and wanting to do something!

post #8 of 29
Im sorry I didn't see what part of WI you are in. Close to MN side?
post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 
(East of the Twin Cities) 82 miles from Minneapolis and 73 miles from St. Paul
post #10 of 29
There are folks on this site that have made "drop traps", myself included. Here are a few threads that talk about them.

The one I made wasn't pretty but I made it out of scraps of wood and chicken wire that I found in my barn. The cost to me was the price of a couple of screws and some duct tape to cover the ends of the chicken wire.
post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 
LOL that would be an interesting project. From my personal experience with Ferals, I think it can be done if one has a lot of patience. Years ago I had a Feral named Bear, he could not be even touched or approached for two years. Showed up at approx. 3-4 months of age. No desire to even be around a human. After a year he would let us look at him from a distance, then a little closer ect. Growling and hissing all the while. We just put out food sometimes and he stayed around. Would also disappear for months and come back looing really thin and beat to shreads. He later became an inside outside cat (insisted on still going out) but became quite the cat. He weighed over 20 pounds! He did not ever let anyone else touch him but family but others got to see him later on in life. He lived for about 8 years. Awesome cat! Your other ideas are great too, Rescue for Ferals!! Remember to buy those lottery tickets!
post #12 of 29
Most people resort to drop traps when they have failed with other traps. The first cat trapped in the one I made was a female that avoided being trapped for 5 years. They caught her on the first try! It doesn't require a lot of patience, just time commitment to watch the trap when you are ready to start speutering.
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the additional info on traps, building traps and other resources, (katie, catcaregiver, LDG). Have already looked into those options. DH and I had a discussion this AM about the Ferals and are going to try a few things we haven't and a few we have without much luck. We will try to do what we can with what resources we have. Without major disclosure on my part, because of several life situations this year, vet bills for our many own fur kids, ect. financially this is hard right now. I am not a quitter and will continue to try and do what I can for them. There just has to be something somewhere and if not perhaps there is a way for us to do one at a time. One is better than none. You guys are great, thanks so much.
post #14 of 29
Whisperin Cats

Here is the link to Animal Ark's website. They have a neuter commuter and maybe able to help. On the left side of the website it will be listed under programs Email them and see what they have to say.
post #15 of 29
Sending {{{{prayers and vibes}}}} that you get lots of wonderful assistance very soon.
Bless you for reaching out to help those ferals - it takes patience, commitment & courage to keep it up, esp. after hearing the "we can't help" so much. (all too often from those who are first to crucify a cat collector). do you know any teen girls who'd be willing to help out - maybe some 4-H-ers? Perhaps they'd do "Sittin' 4 Kittens" and donate their babysitting money to the cause - even if it went directly to a vet who knows - if more people knew about your situation, maybe they'd want to help. It could happen
post #16 of 29
I wanted to wish you luck in your efforts. I am going through a similar situation. The low cost spay/neuter program in my area was cancelled. Although you can bring your medicare card to the shelter and pay $20 for a voucher. I contemplated getting my mother to go get the vouchers.

My next thought is filing for 501(c)(3) status that was mentioned earlier. At least a tax deduction might help us some.

All the best to you!!
post #17 of 29
I can't really help much with the suggestions, but I did want--after reading your initial post--to pop in and say one thing that struck me.

I see a lot of simmering resentment in your thread towards someone/some people who must have tried to make you feel guilty for doing what you've done and call you 'part of the problem.' I think it's a terrible shame that someone made you feel that way, whether it was directed towards you personally or towards people who feed ferals in general.

I know very little about handling feral cats, as I've never done it, so I can't say whether those people are 'right' or 'wrong'. However, it sounds to me like from the very beginning you've been doing what you felt was best, and exercising your compassion. I hate it when people try to correct misconceptions by looking down on or scolding someone for having made a mistake. We all learn at some point, and we don't always have the luxury of learning how to handle a situation BEFORE it comes up. A lot of times we just have to follow our hearts and minds and learn as we go.

So shame on whoever accused you of being 'part of the problem' for being compassionate, and try not to let them get under your skin. Right or wrong--and I honestly wouldn't know which, as I know very little about feral cat issues, as I said--you have been doing what a good, compassionate person would do with the information and abilities you had, and I say good for you. As long as you are open to learning more--which you clearly are or you wouldn't have posted here--you're doing a wonderful thing just by caring.
post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 
First I would like to say Thank you again for all of the helpful ideas. I've been really busy and have not had an opportunity to reply.

DH applied for a tax ID number and said he thinks we should also apply for a 501 3C. We are going to purchase 2 traps in the next week or two. Tomorrow afternoon Hubby is taking Keatin to our vet for his Rabies booster and Skeeter the Canine to have his nails trimmed (He is elderly and tries to bite us now) I won't be going so that DH can have a talk with our vet about spay/neuturing the Ferrals for a discounted price. The two of them have a 'guy' thing going in the communication department. (I've gotten nowhere except he is becoming more familiar with TNR) We have vetted at this clinic for 30 years. (If that doesn't work out then we are going to get out the phone book and start calling several Vets we haven't tried yet. I like the idea about the neuter commuter, that is so cool!!! I'm not sure about crossing state lines but if none of the above pans out I will contact them and see what they have to say.

Time is becoming of the essence due to a new dilema over the last few days. We had above freezing temps for several days to a week and I witnessed many of the cats breeding. Male cats I've never seen before around too. Normally this does not happen until Feb. or March Thought we had some time here but I guess not. Egads I was speechless. Some of these Ferrals are just barely out of kittenhood!!! Now we are about to go into a deep freeze for about a week, highs of zero and lows at night of -18.

Hoping for some good news, wish us some luck and these poor cats especially. If nothing else we will do one at a time. Something has so got to change in this neighborhood rural or not. Guess it will be starting at this end of the road. Thanks again for taking the time to try and help.
post #19 of 29
No one scolds we do try and educate. Both LDG and I have learned from firsthand experience that the best thing to do with ferals is TNR if not then feeding them compounds the problem. However, the problem originates not with the kind-hearted souls who set out food because they can't bear to think that the cats will go without- but to the original person who tossed an intact cat outdoors, because it peed on a favorite pillow, scratched a toddler, sprayed the fill in the blanks.

To the original poster one resource not mentioned to you are the critter rescuers in your area. They often have traps you can borrow at little at no cost sitting in a shed somewhere. Another option for you is to contact cat breeders and see if any of them are connected with rescue. Also pet sitters might know of someone.

As a person who has worked with ferals for a very long time, I want to say to Keith's post that yes, it is possible to get some older feral cats to adjust to living indoors. Does it happen quickly? Not usually. I have one gal here who has been here for a year and she still scoots out of the room when we enter. But she is vetted, fed and safe at 7 years old. She came here at 5 years old.

For most people they don't have the resources of the time to invest in developing the trust between older ferals or strays, therefore the easiest thing to do is say "Kill em all" Some cats CANNOT adapt and those cats I try to find barns or stables where they can hunt and live in peace. It isn't easy- but it can be done.
post #20 of 29
Whispern Cats - the neuter comuter is FREE. They will help with trapping (they bring traps), shelters, food and hopefully adoptions for kittens. Please give them a call. You have nothing to lose.
post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 
Read this in one of our local papers and then I went an read the original article which is this link. The replies to the article are very similar to the mentality of the people who live where I am also. Alma is a little over an hour away from me, near Rochester MN. Thought I would post the link.

Sometimes I have to take a deep breath and be greatful that I am not like those people. Things are just really different where I live and slow to change.
post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 
Yes, understand that it is free. I went and read about them, thank you. Will contact them.
post #23 of 29
I'm so happy you're not like those people too. I hope the TNR people prevail.

It sounds like you are moving ahead with some of the ideas posted. Thank you for taking care of the little cats, in spite of your financial and health problems.
post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 
Here is their response. It was worth a try.

Hello Lisa,

Thank you for your interest in the Animal Ark and our feral cat program. Unfortunately we can not travel out of state for this program as our vet is only licensed to practice in Minnesota.

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Animal Ark
(651) 772-8983
post #25 of 29
Well, "discouragement" is a word too many of us have to becom familiar with.

BUT - on the bright side - you're going to file for 501 3C status! That's fabulous. It will help.

Thinking about you and hoping something affordable turns up soon - it'd be nice to not have all those extra kittens around - not that they aren't cute and adorable.

post #26 of 29
i am now trying in my rural area to start a TNR program, I know the owner
of the local feed store here, I cut his son's hair! I'm sure this helps somewhat, but this evening I went there to buy some cat food and started talking to him about what I was trying to start, after he saw the trap I purchased there about a month ago in the trunk of my car, while he loaded the cat food up! I continued to talk about TNR while I was paying and I asked if he would consider giving me a discount on the traps, if and when I get this thing going! Guess what? He called me over to where the traps where set up as display, and said, I may not donate alot but here is another trap for your efforts!!!!!! I said , 'OMG! thanks so much!!!!!I shook his hand!!! I told him I would be back for it, for I didn't have room in my car right now! he said that was fine!!!! That was my sign.....from the good Lord that I'm suppose to be doing this!!!!! That just pumped me up!!!! His son had sold the trap I bought there a month ago, and gave it to me at cost which was $25 ! I wish you all the luck in the world, you'll just have to share it with me!!!
post #27 of 29
Maybe one of these can help they were on the Alley Cat Rescue website.

Cats Anonymous Green Bay, WI

Pardeeville, WI

Wisconsin Humane Society
4500 West Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53208

Happy Endings
5349 Forest Home Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53220

Countryside Humane Society
2706 Chicory Road, Racine, WI 53403

Kindred Spirits Animal Network Inc
P.O. Box 86, Mazomanie, WI 535560

Country Animal Haven, Inc.
1755 Williams Drive, Stoughton, WI 53589

Dane County Friends of Ferals
P.O. Box 14444, Madison, WI 53708
post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 
Monique- Your enthusiasm (sp?) can be felt all the way over here!!!
Wishing you the best!
post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thank you, I've been to Alley Cat's Website numerous times. Those places are nowhere near me. The 2 closest places to me for discount spay and neuter are in Neillsville, WI (Clark Co Humane Society) and Amery WI (Vet Clinic). The first is approx. 90 miles the second is 60 miles.

I contacted the Director of the Eau Claire Humane Society as they quietly do TNR and this Spring will be expanding to include areas outside of the city but still Eau Claire County. She gave me another contact which is Animal Control in Eau Claire County who will be in charge of part of their TNR this spring. This person will be gathering the data where the ferals are, who is their caregiver etc. Since we do not live in that county they may very well contact our animal control and these ferals are as good as gone. I'm trying to prevent that if all possible.

The challenges seem to be they cannot go out of there 'zone' so to speak. I understand this. Around here counties are like borders, lol no one steps over.
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