In Petaluma, cats are cats. If they are homeless, the shelter will house them until we can find a great home for them. So, where do ‘feral’ cats fit into that picture? Technically, they’re not homeless. They live in our community, help us all with rodent control and seem to do pretty well, especially if their community helps them out a bit. At the shelter, we do our part with spay and neuter, vaccines, food (when we have extra), and release back to their ‘home’. Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County supports us in this effort with education and training.
The terms ‘feral’ and ‘homeless’ just don’t seem to fit this population of felines. Community Cats explains the role they play for us and the role we play for them.
Yesterday, a man called the shelter with questions about a feral cat who’d given birth in his yard. He explained how he wanted to help this family and wanted to keep them safe, but just didn’t know how to do the right thing. He was afraid that they’d get injured by predators, or that mom might move them and he’s lose track of them. As we spoke, I realized that without even knowing it, this man embodied the idea behind Community Cats.
He came in to borrow a trap from us, got some expert advice about putting the babies and food and water in the trap and then waiting for the mom to tend to her kittens. She would be trapped, voila, safe mama and kittens!
He called this morning to tell me the whole family is safe in the trap. He brought them to the shelter, where we will house them until we can spay the mom on Friday.
Now, we need your help. Mom will be spayed on Friday, and then the whole family needs to go to a foster home on Saturday. The foster will care for them for the next few weeks. Once the babies can eat on their own, we’ll remove them from their mom and return her to her community. The kittens will then be raised with plenty of human contact so that they can be spayed and neutered to be adopted into loving homes.