Be a Community Cat Caregiver 

One cause of cat overpopulation is the number of homeless cats living in cat colonies. These cats are not spayed or neutered, and one colony is typically a family of one or two generations that can expand rapidly without intervention. In addition, many cats are abandoned and dumped on the streets by their owners, and then they become strays and eventually part of the cat colonies that reproduce uncontrollably.

 

One of our strategies to address homeless cats is trap-neuter-return, or TNR. Feral and stray cats are humanely trapped and taken to a veterinarian where they are spayed or neutered, provided with an ear tattoo for identification, vaccinated, and treated for medical issues. Adult cats who can be socialized as well as kittens are placed in foster homes until they are suitable for adoption. Cats who cannot be socialized are returned to their colony, where volunteers in the community feed them. TNR stops the breeding cycle of cats, allowing the feral colony population to decline gradually over time. 

 

Caring for a colony is an important responsibility. These cats are still homeless and depend on generous and loving members of the community for food and water, especially in the colder winter months when nutrition is most needed but food is scarce.
 

If you find homeless cats living near your home, workplace, or recreation facility, please consider helping them. There are many ways you can help improve the quality of their lives. 

 

1. Let us know

Email us at surreycats@shaw.ca with the exact location and how many cats and kittens there are. We will arrange to trap and spay/neuter the cats. If there are kittens, it is important that they are caught together with the mother cats. 

 

2. Provide food and water

Provide adequate food and water for the cats on a regular basis, year-round. Please do not feed them milk or bread. Cats are lactose-intolerant and cannot digest milk. If they drink milk, they may get diarrhea. Bread has processed carbohydrates which turn into to sugar, then stored as fat—this can contribute to obesity. Read our Caregiver Tips: Food and Water for more information.

These are two brothers who live in a colony in Surrey with three other homeless cats. All were trapped, neutered, and returned to the colony. The brothers are extremely bonded and always together. They are often seen waiting for their community cat caregiver to arrive and feed them.

3. Provide shelter

Some cats find shelter for themselves in a shed or under a building where their safety is uncertain. You might want to consider building a shelter for the cats, especially for the winter. It can keep them safe from the elements and help you control their location and deter them from neighbors’ properties. Read our Caregiver Tips: Providing Shelter for more information.

 

4. Monitor their health

It is a good idea to keep an eye on the cats for general good health. Common indicators of health problems or injury include: changes in behavior, changes in eating habits, dull eyes or coat, discharge from the nose or eyes, weight loss, fur loss, changes in their gait, and listlessness. If you see any of these, email us at surreycats@shaw.ca for advice.

© 2020 Surrey Community Cat Foundation

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