It's happening
right in your own backyard....

Maybe you've seen them behind a restaurant. Or in an alley or park. Feral (wild) cats live everywhere, forming colonies wherever they find scraps of food and a bit of shelter, be it in dumpsters or under a boardwalk. Tens of millions of feral cats now live in the U.S.

What is a feral cat?
A feral cat is an unsocialized cat. Either he was born outside and never lived with a human family, or he is a house cat that has strayed from home, and over time, has thrown off the effects of domestication and reverted to a wild state. Feral cats avoid human contact. When pet cats are forced to fend for themselves outdoors, huge numbers die from exposure or accidents. The survivors often turn feral and, if they have not been sterilized, give birth to feral kittens. The cycle continues.

They have a home..... outdoors.
Adult feral cats are like wildlife. They usually cannot be socialized and are most content living outside. On the other hand, feral kittens up to 10 weeks of age can
often be tamed and placed in homes.

Myth: Feral cats lead short, miserable lives so it's best to trap and euthanize them.
Reality: Studies show that feral cats have about the same lifespan as pet cats. And they contract diseases at about the same rate. It is simply not humane or prudent to kill a healthy feral cat, and this practice does not reduce their populations over the long-term because other cats move in and start breeding.

Myth: Feral cats are diseased and can make pet cats or children sick.
Reality: Feral cats are generally healthy. The incidence of disease in feral cat colonies is no higher than among owned cats. Feral cats shun human contact, especially with unfamiliar people. They aren't interested in interacting with you or your children.

Myth: Feral cats should be taken to local animal shelters so they can be adopted.
Reality: Feral cats are not pet cats and they will be killed at most shelters. Because they're considered dangerous, they sometimes don't even make it to the shelter, but are killed in the animal control truck. Feral kittens are separated from their mothers often when they are still nursing. While the mothers are immediately euthanized, the kittens are spared but often are not tamed by shelter workers within the critical 10-week window, so they remain feral and therefore unadoptable. Even no-kill shelters are not able to place feral cats in homes.

Myth: Feral cats are predators that deplete wildlife.
Reality: Studies show that the overwhelming cause of wildlife depletion is destruction of natural habitat due to man-made structures, chemical pollution, pesticides, and drought ..... not feral cats.

Do you believe she deserves to live
even though she is wild?
Don't buy into the cruel myths about feral cats and kittens.
Discover the compassionate solution that really works....

Trap-Neuter-Return, the humane, nonlethal method of population control, is more effective than trap-and-kill, and is more reflective of a caring society.

The usual animal control solution isn't a solution.
The traditional approach to reducing feral cat numbers has been to round them up and remove them. But bringing feral cats to shelters is the same as a death sentence. Because they are wild and therefore unadoptable, they end up being euthanized. So do their healthy kittens, who, if trapped by 10 weeks of age, can be socialized and adopted.

Eradication doesn't work.
Trap-and-Remove schemes which must be done on an ongoing basis .... are extremely costly to communities. What's more, other cats move in to take advantage of the newly available resources and they breed prolifically, quickly forming a new colony. This "vacuum effect" is well-documented.

There's an answer for feral cats that works.
An answer you can feel good about.
There is a solution that not only reduces feral cat populations, but also improves the lives of feral cats: Trap-Neuter-Return. TNR is a proven procedure in which entire colonies of stray and feral cats are humanely trapped, then evaluated, vaccinated, and neutered by veterinarians. Kittens and tame cats are adopted into good homes. Adult cats too wild to be adopted are returned to live out their lives under the watch of voluntary caregivers.

TNR works
The breeding stops. Populations are gradually reduced. The annoying behaviors of breeding cats, like yowling or spraying, stop. The cats are vaccinated against disease, and they are fed on a regular schedule. This ongoing care creates a safety net for both the cats and the community.

SPAR is promoting the Trap-Neuter-Return policy for use in Shawnee and surrounding communities. We hope to improve the quality of life for feral cats, which includes getting them spayed or neutered, tested for FIV/FELV, fully vaccinated, and relocated where there is safety for them. It will take time and alot of hard work but we hope to change public opinion through community awareness and education. At present we are limited to finding homes for dogs and cats that are being cared for in foster homes. It is our goal to eventually establish a TNR program working with city shelters but that will require more volunteers and better funding. If you would like to help or volunteer to help with the feral cat program, please contact Kari Barrett at 405-702-7727 Option 1.

We are happy to announce that working with city officials, Shawnee will be celebrating National Feral Cat Day this fall. More information on that to come.

Most of the feral cat information has been republished with permission from

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