Wow, what makes you think TNR people are wealthy? I for one am a student and work part-time for $8/hr (which does not go far in a big East Coast city). I eat so much Top Ramen that I probably should own stock in the company. I drive a junker car that I paid cash for. I do not have cable TV or even a home phone. You get the picture. I am many things, but wealthy sure isn't one of them!
But even with serious financial limitations, I have spayed and neutered literally hundreds of stray and feral cats by working with feral cat organizations in my local area. And I'm far from unique in this. Anyone with average intelligence, access to a car, and the ability to lift and carry 20 lbs is very capable of having the stray cats in their neighborhood spayed and neutered. In all the years I've been doing this, I have never met anyone who has seriously tried to trap and neuter the cats they feed and failed at the task. The only ones I have ever met who have failed are the ones who didn't really try. So you can take encouragement from that. I am sure that if you try, you will not be the first person I have ever known to fail!
What you need to do at this point is accept full responsibility for the situation. As much as we'd like to, no one can do anything to help the fact that you started feeding one unsterilized cat and now you are feeding four cats. This sort of thing is inevitable unless the cats are fixed. I know they are not "your" cats and someone else abandoned them. However, at this point you are feeding them so you have taken on responsibility for them. That means it is your responsibility to get them spayed/neutered and vaccinated. It is your responsibility to call the SPCA and find out what services they offer. It is your responsibility to surf the internet and find out where you can borrow traps and how to properly use them. We are here to offer support and can certainly answer specific questions, but we can't do the work for you.
To restate what others have said, it is simply not humane to feed stray cats without spaying and neutering. I took on a situation this summer where someone had been feeding for years and hadn't spayed or neutered anyone. What she had was literally 30+ cats and kittens in her backyard. All of the kittens had severe upper respiratory infections and two kittens' eyes had literally burst from the infection and needed to be surgically removed. It was only June and many of the females were pregnant with their second litters of the year. They all had ringworm, which is usually only found in indoor situations because of the crowding required to really spread ringworm. On top of all this, the neighbors, who had been patient and tolerant of her feeding the cats before, were really getting fed up with the constantly growing numbers and were beginning to threaten to harm the cats. We were lucky that none of the cats had leukemia, but feline leukemia is very prevalent when the cats are being fed but not fixed. As Hissy said, you will not find dead cats in your backyard if you stop feeding. But I would say it's entirely likely that you will sooner or later find dead cats if you persist in feeding without sterilizing. So if you are not willing to do what it takes to get the cats fixed, it is kinder to stop feeding them altogether.
You have the same resources available to you as the rest of us. I'm not saying it doesn't require time and effort and sometimes money. I'm not saying it isn't hard work. And I'm not saying it won't require some personal sacrifices. But it's worth it. I know feral cat caregivers who have spayed and neutered dozens of cats at the same time that they themselves were faced with serious illness, disability, unemployment, advanced age, and many other challenges. If they can do it, you can do it too.
Below is a list of feral cat organizations that operate within an hour's drive of West Babylon. I compiled this list by visiting www.alleycat.org
and finding their list of feral cat organizations in NY. Then I went to www.mapquest.com
and plugged in every city to find out how far it was from West Babylon. This is an example of the kind of research that anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can do to find out what resources are available in their area and how to make use of them.ASPCA
- NYC -Atlantic Beach Cats
- Atlantic BeachCSM Stray Foundation
- Kew GardensLong Beach Cats
â€“ Long BeachMuffins Pet Connection
- HewlettNeighborhood Cats, Inc.
- NYCSlope Street Cats
As to the question of rescue groups, I don't think anyone can accurately answer that. Every group sets its own policies, and in any case it depends on whether or not the cats are friendly enough to be adopted as pets. But it is certainly easier to find a rescue to take 4 cats than to find one to take 10 or more cats - and 10+ cats are what you will have once spring kitten season hits, unless the cats are fixed first.