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Stray, or feral cats are usually classified as a pest species due to their habits of occupying public places in high numbers, fighting and spraying. The most common complaints include the following:
PLEASE HELP CONTROL THE STRAY CAT PROBLEM:
1) DON'T FEED STRAY CATS
2) DON'T ABANDOND YOUR PET CAT
3) HAVE YOUR CAT SPAYED OR NEUTERED
If you need to trap and transport stray cats, read my guide to stray cat trapping.
STRAY CAT BEHAVIOR: Stray cats are truly wild animals, and they are very capable. If a cat is born in the wild and lives as a wild animal, there's pretty much no chance of domesticating it. Many cats form feral colonies. Cats in the wild rarely live more than 2-3 years, whereas house cats can live up to 15 years. Cats are carnivores, and eat almost entirely protein. They need to hunt and catch prey, such as rodents, birds, etc. The truth is that many feral cats survive on garbage, and more often than not, human handouts.
SHOULD I FEED STRAY CATS? No. No no no no no no no. This is one of the worst things you can do for both cats and the ecosystem of local wildlife. Never feed any wild animals. It may be a lot of fun, and it may make you feel good, but it will always result in an overpopulation of unhealthy and suffering animals. Every time. I've seen it too many times - people feed stray cats, the population explodes, and the whole lot ultimately ends up underfed, with puss-filled eyes, flea-ridden and diseased mangy cats. If you want a pet cat, take it in and take care of it, but do not feed wild cats or any wildlife.
NUISANCE CONCERNS: Most people simply feel bad when they see their beloved furry feline friends freezing and filled with fleas. Furthermore, stray cats can spread disease and parasites, and make a stink with their mating spray, and noise with their fighting and mating. Most of the cat problems that I deal with involve cases of overpopulations of cats in public areas (because idiots feed them) and they become a dirty nuisance. Stray cats also hunt and kill local wildlife, such as songbirds, and can out-compete other native wildlife, or cause them disease.
STRAY CAT DISEASES: Cat-Scratch fever and rabies are the main two, but there's the usual host of parasite and fecal matter diseases that any wildlife in overcrowded conditions can cause.
HOW DO I GET RID OF STRAY CATS? It's a dicey situation. Many people don't want to see cats trapped and ultimately euthanized. However, overpopulated cat colonies usually result in more suffering for cats. The best thing is prevention: don't feed the cats, don't ever abandon your pet cat, and PLEASE HAVE YOUR CAT SPAYED OR NEUTERED.
Here are some other articles about stray cats:
how to catch a stray cat
catch neuter release of stray cats
how many stray cats in America
common problems with stray cats
what to do if you find a litter of kittens
CAN SOMEONE HELP ME WITH A STRAY CAT PROBLEM? In most cases, yes. The first thing you can do is contact your local city or county animal services. Look up their number on the internet, or click on my directory on my home page - I have the numbers listed for over 650 US cities and towns, covering 99.8% of the USA. They may help in some way, or loan you a trap. However, if you have a more complex problem and want to hire professional help, that's what my directory is really for. The wildlife operators that I list can help you by professionally trapping and removing cats, up to a dozen at a time, from properties. This includes hotels, apartments, restaurants, warehouses, etc. If you need professional help, just click the link below for a pro in your area:
Click here for a nationwide list of 100's of professional stray cat trappers serving all 50 states.
Phoenix Stray Cat Control - Los Angeles Stray Cat Control - San Diego Stray Cat Control - San Jose Stray Cat Control - Denver Stray Cat Control - Orlando Stray Cat Control - Miami Stray Cat Control - Jacksonville Stray Cat Control - Atlanta Stray Cat Control - Chicago Stray Cat Control - Baltimore Stray Cat Control - Boston Stray Cat Control - Minneapolis Stray Cat Control - Charlotte Stray Cat Control - Portland Stray Cat Control - Philadelphia Stray Cat Control - Houston Stray Cat Control - Seattle Stray Cat Control - Click here if you want to read my story of a Weak Ant vs. Strong Ant
Here is an email that I got:
As a biologist, I am writing to you out of concern about some of the statements on your website. First of all, feral cats are afraid of humans and as such are unlikely to spread disease and parasites as they will run and shy away from physical contact.
Your statement that cats kill local wildlife, songbirds, etc is misleading: Yes, they do kill some wildlife for survival. However, your wording implies that cats are a leading cause of songbird decline, when habitat loss, pollution, and climate changes are far worse of a problem. Also, what else (other than wildlife and trash) do you expect stray cats to eat when they have been abandoned and no "idiots" are around to feed them?
I applaud you for stressing that people fix their pets and not let them outside. The solution to stray cat problems is not in removing and killing the cats (sent to a shelter most are unadoptable due to their fear of humans) but in education and neuter/spay.
I implore you to change some of the wording on your site. Also, please ask that people seek out local trap, neuter, release programs, which will often relocate problematic cats as well.
And here's a response from that email that I got from a different reader:
After reading your email I can only come to the conclusion that you are NOT a very good biologist. Feral Cats spread Hookworm, Roundworm, Toxocariasis and are carriers of Leptosporosis, which recently was the cause of death of my 11 year old dog Buddy who died a horrible death because of complications due to contracting Leptosporosis from one or all the Feral cats in our neighborhood. This is confirmed and documented. I have been corresponding with the CDC, AMVA, and the FDOH about this issue. Pregnant mothers working in their gardens can get Toxo and lose their fetus, our dogs and cats can contract Lepto as well as humans. You should really do your research before writing an email that is false and misleading. I have hundreds of pages of documents and publications that support my email, you only have your misleading and false words which I can only assume you are a cat lover and wrote out of anger.