Stray and Feral Cats
Stray and feral cats are a huge problem in the United States. Strays are simply cats that have wandered off, but feral cats may have bred for a generation of more in the wild and know how to survive without the care of humans. The problem is that they may carry diseases, fight with house cats and spread those diseases. Left uncontrolled they breed more and more cats. They can however perform a useful roll in local rodent and pest control.
Do not walk up and try to pet it. Strays are not always friendly or immunized so there the possibility that they man carry rabies. If you do get bitten, either the cat gets trapped and tested for rabies or you will need a full series of rabies shots, which are not pleasant. A bite or scratch from a feral cat should have you on your way to the doctor immediately.
If the cat happens to be friendly, do it favor and take it to the vet. Get it immunized, spayed or neutered and try to find it a good home if you do not want to keep it yourself. You should also read up on how to deal with cats that have behavioral problems.
Getting Rid of Stray Cats
Most of the products for sale that claim to keep stray and feral cats away do not work at all. It could not hurt to try them if you have the money to spend, but there are many tried and true methods below.
- Do not feed the kitties and remove any food sources that you can find. Leaving food out can also attract other animals such as skunks.
- Block entries to places feral cats like to live. The get under homes, decks and into shed. Make sure you do not have a haven for feral cats next to your home.
- Call you local animal control center and see if they will come out and catch them or let you borrow or rent a trap to catch the cats.
- Buy your own trap and catch the cat yourself. Take it in to the closest animal control. Releasing elsewhere is just condemning it to a worse life. Take care though – this is not a tamed cat, but a snarling scratching ball of menace.
- Use pepper spray liberally in the areas the cats frequent. It will bother their sensitive noses and the cats may stay away.
If you've got a heart of gold, trap the cat, take it the vet and have it immunized then spayed or neutered. Release back on to your property and provide it with food. Maybe you could use a great mouser? Regardless, the important thing is that the stray does not continue to breed.