With bedroom windows open in warm weather at night, more of us will hear feral cats fighting or crying for their babies. These domestic yet homeless cats live in the wild but aren’t wildlife. To decrease their numbers while still giving them a humane life, the answer is a catch-neuter-return program.
It would be nice if local governments would help fund such programs as residents don’t usually have cat traps or funds to pay for neutering.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t watch a cat starve or freeze to death in my back yard in 2005. Upon seeing the suffering, my husband and I decided to build a cardboard box shelter covered with plastic with old towels and an electric heating pad inside. Then, we gave it food and water daily.
We saved its life but didn’t realize at the time that was not enough.
After the weather turned warmer, we didn’t see the cat again until it had a little more weight on its bones. Unfortunately, the cat was pregnant, a common and regular condition for female feral cats without neutering.
As the cat nursed her three kittens in our back yard, we learned about the Rocky Mountain Alley Cat Alliance where we borrowed traps and had the daddy cat and the kittens neutered. We released them into our back yard as we committed to feed and shelter them along with their mother as we tried to catch her.
After months, a neighbor caught the mother cat but not before she had four more kittens. Luckily, the neighbor then caught the mother and her four kittens. She took them to the Boulder Humane Society where the kittens were adopted. Then, she brought the mother cat into her own home.
My neighbor and I caught more cats on the street than we counted that summer and the next. In the process, we learned the Humane Society will neuter feral cats for a relatively low fee. Good thing we haven’t had to go there this year.