A pair of breeding cats, which can have two or more litters per year, can exponentially produce hundred, if not thousands of offspring over a lifetime. The only proven, humane method of controlling the population of stray and feral cats is “Trap, Neuter, and Return (TNR)”. TNR is supported by DCAP, Dallas City Animal Ordinance and the community at large.
What are feral cats? Feral cats are wild and often un-approachable cat that were born outside and grew up wild. Community cats (also known as free-roaming cats), on the other hand, are friendly cats who may have been born outside but are not wild. They may or may not have been previously owned.
There are a many things that can start a feral or community cat colony – caring neighbors feeding stray, pet owners who move and abandon cats, or unaltered owned cats becoming lost from their homes. When un-managed cat colonies form, the cats may breed uncontrollably, fight loudly and the males spray, which results in a horrible odor.
One common misconception many people have is that if they trap these cats and take them to a shelter, they can be adopted. Thousands of tame cats are put to sleep each day in shelters everywhere, and since feral cats cannot even be handled, they have absolutely no chance of survival in a shelter environment. Removing a colony of feral cats is not the answer, either, as new cats will move in to take advantage of the resources consumed by the previous cats.
The only proven method to control the populations of feral, stray and community cats is TNR (trap/neuter/return). Using this method, cats are humanely trapped, transported to a vet for spay/neuter, rabies vaccination, and ear tipping. Once all cats in a colony are spayed/neutered and re-released, the numbers will start to dwindle by natural attrition. There will be no more kittens born, no more fighting and no more spraying by the males.
Properly managed cat colonies can even benefit the community. Sterilized cats help to keep out new cats who might try to move into their territory. They are also excellent bug and rodent control.
The Dallas area has a number of options to educate and assist with getting feral and stray cats sterilized: