Feral Cats Are Taking Care of Business
Feral cats are domestic cats born without human contact or handling. If cats don’t have some human contact in their first 8 weeks of life, it becomes very difficult to tame them. The ASPCA estimates there are currently millions of feral cats in the U.S. Years ago, feral cats were considered pests and if caught were usually killed.
In the 1990’s, various animal advocacy groups partnered to start the TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) initiative. By implementing TNR, it limits the number of cats born each year and promotes a healthier life for those already in the feral colony.
Many people now consider feral cat colonies part of the ecosystem and have found constructive ways for the feral cats to help control the rat population. In California, the Voice for the Animals Foundation (VFTA) started providing feral cats to help control the rat population at the area flower market. The VFTA now has feral cats working on rat control in 20 sites.
In Los Angeles, the rats had become so bad in the LAPD, they were eating criminal files. Feral cats were brought in and the rat problem has been virtually eliminated.
California land development sites were also having problems with rats in residences and businesses, so feral cats were brought in and the rats were gone within 24 hours. Tenants in the development have embraced the cats, providing toys, food, and litterboxes.
The VFTA is hoping to expand the feral cat program to other parts of Los Angeles and is hoping other feral cat groups around the country will begin similar programs.
Cat Fancy Magazine, July 2010 was referenced for this post