Community cats are the often un-owned, free-roaming cats many people find inhabiting their backyard, orchard, garage, farmland, etc. Many of these cats are considered “feral,” or too poorly socialized to be placed as a typical pet. According to a 2004 study by the American Veterinary Medical Association, a typical female cat in a feral colony has about two litters per year, producing three kittens on average. Unfortunately, 75% of those kittens die or disappear before 6 months of age, most often due to trauma. However, the 25% that do survive will continue to reproduce, and the colony grows.
The Humane Society of Ventura County supports the management of feral cat colonies through TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return), which includes scanning for the presence of a microchip, vaccination, sterilization, flea control, and ear tipping. Ear tipping involves removing just the very tip of the cat’s left ear, which serves as a visual indicator that the cat has been sterilized and therefore does not need to be trapped again. This procedure is quick and painless, performed under general anesthesia at the time of sterilization. TNR services are provided FREE for any feral cat brought to our clinic in a humane trap on the morning of one of our surgery days (typically Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays). The Herman Bennet Foundation and SPAN have generously granted support for this program.
Research by the ASPCA shows that TNR programs not only reduce and control feral colony size, there is also less smell from the colony due to fewer male cats spraying, less noise due to fighting, decreased mortality of kittens, and less disease due to vaccination. If you have feral cats on your property, the HSVC wants to help. We are in the process of updating our website to provide training videos on how to humanely trap and transport feral cats for TNR. We have a limited supply of “Havahart” humane cat traps available for loan.
Do you have a feral cat colony on your property but are unable to trap them? Please contact us. There is a network of feral cat advocates in Ventura County that may be able to trap them for you or assist with transportation. Would you like a sterilized feral cat to help control rodent populations in your orchard or barn? Please let us know. If you would like to support our TNR program, please consider purchasing a Havahart trap from our Amazon Wish List to add to our loaner supply or call to make a donation. A sterilized feral cat, if allowed to live out its natural life, can often have a lifespan similar to a pet cat. Those cats and the HSVC thank you!
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