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What to do about feral colony

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
There's a colony of ferals right outside my back fence. 10 or more of them, with a big white tom. My dog is always barking at them, so they're not one bit scared of her. Today, she got out of the fence and was standing in the middle of about 5 of them. Which is odd, since she lives to chase cats. I called her, but she ignored me (which is also odd), so I went over to see what she was looking at. A dead (very dead, barely recognizeable) white kitten. Not two feet away was a calico (I think, couldn't tell too well). Can I assume there's a disease spreading? Or do kittens normally die often in a feral colony? I don't know how long they had been there, maybe they've been there since winter. What can I do about these cats? I don't have alot of money and this is a pretty rural area, so animal control barely exists and I can assure you they're not going to help. If I neuter the tom, is he still going to "rule", or will another move into his place? I can't afford to neuter/spay and vaccinate all these cats. Should I just leave them be? Or is there something else I can do?
post #2 of 8
Have you looked into any lowcost spay and nueter programs in your area? Most states have a few now. Is this a colony that you are currently caring for or has some one else taken up the cause? As for the dead kittens, it is not unusual for their to be complications with kittens who are born in the wild,(we have about a 67% survival rate with our kittens) however we usually have caugh them and brought them inside ASAP. Also there are diseases that can transmitt among kittens that will kill them so the best thing would be to take one cat from the coloney in and have it tested. more than likeley if it tests neg, most if not all of the others should too. If these are not options, then maybe check into a mobil nueter scooter like we have here. They come out spay/nueter cats and give shots they work on a cut rate because they are used mainly for feral colonies.
post #3 of 8
Dawn...first...thanks for caring and for posting here. My understanding is that it is not unusual to find dead kittens (just as phendric726 had stated). What I would suggest you do is to contact a feral cat group and see if they can help you get these cats trapped, fixed and returned. By fixing these cats you are helping them to become healthier and also preventing litters from being born. Here are a few places to contact...good luck:

Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project
Serving the Greater Puget Sound area.
Email: questions@feralcatproject.org
Web: www.feralcatproject.org Free testing, vaccinations, and spay/neuter for feral cats brought by caretakers.

Purrfect Pals
Arlington WA
Pets and ferals

Whidbey Animals' Improvement Foundation (WAIF)
PO Box 1108
Coupeville, WA 98239
360-678-5816 north
360-331-2818 south
Free spay/neuter for ferals plus low cost spay/neuter for qualified low income pets.

Peninsula Spay/Neuter Project
PO Box 306
Burley WA 98322
Provides certificates for low cost s/n for cats and dogs to be used at participating area veterinarians. Also has assistance for feral cats.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
No one is caring for them. I think some actually have a "home". They seem to originate at house a ways down from me. But they're wild, living and breeding on the hill behind my house, and most are quite skinny. I don't mind them one bit, I like them. I just can't afford to take care of them along with my 3 cats, two dogs, and various other critters. The places listed are all about 4 hours from me, would they still be able to help? The area I live in does not have low cost anything, it's a low income area mostly, so you'd think they would. But the general idea around here is, "It's just a cat, take it out and shoot it".

I did remember another option. My dad's friend desperately needs barn cats, what do you think about giving them to him? They'd at least have a home and somewhere warm to sleep and medical attention when they needed it. They wouldn't be neutered or spayed and probably wouldn't get vaccinated.

post #5 of 8
Hi Dawn,

Feral cats and strays make excellent barn cats, but they should be neutered and spayed first before transport. I realize it is a big chunk of change, but there are groups out there that will help you if they can. If the group can't get there, oftentimes they have members that network and if they live close enough will come and help you trap them. But as far as paying for them, unless you can get a spneuter mobile to come by and do it for a donation, the cost is really in your hands.
post #6 of 8
Dawn...feral cats do make excellent barn cats...but I agree with hissy. Please have them spayed/neutered before you transfer them. They should also get a rabies shot and have their ear tipped.

If you contact the groups I provided..they may know a group that works closer to you.

post #7 of 8
I have to agree with Katie and Hissy. Ferals are wonderful barn cats but should be spayed or neutered. Also if testing one for communicable diseases were possible it would increase the longevity of the colony's life span, although this can be costly. (We get ours tested about once a year @ $38 for the one. But again we have a great relationship with our feral colony vets and they understand our plight for these cats) You may check to see if any of the local vets are willing to donate some of the services. (that is how we found our colony’s vet) Good luck, I know this can be very frustrating, but it is also very rewarding.
post #8 of 8
This is how I handle an overwhelming situation as this.
I too am on a very limited income and I do what I can.
I have been fortunate to find an agency in my area to spay/neuter my ferals for free.
It took me along time to find them but I was presistant and it payed off.
I got most of my tips from BestFriends.
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