Important Information about
in your Neighborhood
Where do they come from?For
centuries humans have been domesticating cats to be companion animals.
But, humans don't always assume the appropriate responsibility for
their dependent pets.
people fail to spay or neuter their pets. They may also allow them to
roam freely outside. Sometimes the pets get lost or run away. Sometimes
humans tire of their pets or abandon them when they move away.
cats live together in groups where there is a source of food and
shelter. The food sources are generally rodents, like mice and moles,
but sometimes rats and snakes.
Don't cats eat birds?Yes, but very seldom.
By far, the greatest threat to the bird population is the loss of habitat caused by human development.
Another cause of the loss of bird population is predation by other birds like hawk, owls, etc.
small impact that free-roaming cats have on the bird population can be
reduced by reducing the number of cats that are free-roaming.
They are a nuisance!Yes,
intact cats can be a bother. Their social structure is a hierarchy and
their hormones cause them to be constantly fighting for the top
position. They can spray urine to assert their control of an area, and
they often howl and fight.
I just want them GONE!This
is often the first thought of a person who has free-roaming cats in the
neighborhood, but it would be better to have a second thought before
making a mistake.
the cats are there because there is a food source to support them. Do
you like rats? Mice? If the cats are not there to control the
population of rodents, the rodent population will explode. The cats are
performing a service to the neighborhood by controlling the less
desirable rodent population and all that comes with it.
in the middle ages when humans killed all of the cats because they
thought they were evil? Remember the plague that killed 30% of the
population of Europe in the following generation? The removal of the
cats allowed the rat population to explode, which carried the fleas
that carried the plague, which killed the humans. A hard lesson to
What is being done, now?Humans
have been trying to control the population of free-roaming cats by
trapping and killing for some time, now. The effect has been clearly
documented. When the cats are removed from an area, the food source
thrives, then, because there are no cats in the area to defend it from
others, the cats in the surrounding areas move in. Since the food
source is so much more abundant, the cats reproduce at an even greater
rate than the original occupants. The end result is more cats than
there were in the beginning. This approach has proven itself to be
costly and not only ineffective, but even counter-productive.
So, what works?The newer approach, and the only one that has been demonstrated to be effective and humane, is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).
means a group of cats is trapped using a humane trap, taken to a
veterinarian to be sterilized, and returned to the location where they
were trapped. Some of the cats can be removed for adoption into homes,
to the extent that homes are available. A dedicated caretaker, or even
better, a team of neighbors, looks after the cats that remain to be
sure that any new entries to the group are also trapped and sterilized.
But what about the bad behavior?When
the cats are sterilized, the hormone levels are reduced. The drives
that caused the bad behavior are reduced. Sterilized cats seldom behave
in the way that intact cats do, so far as spraying, howling, fighting,
etc. because those habits are related to mating and social position.
So what SHOULD I do?Join
an effort to control the population of free-roaming cats in a humane
manner. There are a variety of things that you can do to help.
Prince Georges Feral Friends offers information about the free-roaming
cat issue in the form of meetings and workshops, free to the public, in
Cat Rescue, Humane Trapping Techniques and Socialization.
you have free-roaming cats in your neighborhood, you might want to
become a dedicated caretaker. P.G.F.F. can teach you all that you need
to know about doing this.
might like to foster a cat that has been socialized and is waiting for
a home, or you could assist someone else who is fostering in their home.
some training that P.G.F.F. can provide, you can actually socialize a
feral cat and prepare a loving companion for a new indoor home.
are also many things that must be done in order to run the organization
that supports all of these activities. You might like to take
responsibility for a task that doesn't involve a hands-on relationship
projects that P.G.F.F. undertakes include, public relations,
advertising meetings and seminars, fundraising, grantwriting, ... a
whole host of activities.
cats need to have veterinary care. Cats in foster homes need supplies.
These cost money. You can help by contributing to defray these costs.
All donations to Prince Georges Feral Friends are tax deductible.
Donate with a credit card on the P.G.F.F. web site or use payroll
deduction with United Way/CFC or Maryland Charities.
Get involved. The cats can't speak for themselves. We must speak for them. You'll feel good about it, too.
you have read this information and would like to learn more about the
P.G.F.F. program of Trap-Neuter-Return, but have questions, contact Us:
Send email to Tim Saffell or Linda Saffell .