FAQs

Q. What is a feral cat?

A. A cat born and raised in the wild, or who has been abandoned or lost and reverted to wild ways in order to survive, is considered feral. While some feral cats tolerate a bit of human contact, most are too fearful and wild to be handled. Ferals often live in groups, called colonies, and take refuge wherever they can find food, such as rodents, other small animals, and garbage. They will also try to seek out abandoned buildings, deserted cars, even dig holes in the ground to keep warm in winter months and cool during the summer heat.

Q. I've heard that feral cats carry diseases. Is this true?

A. All animals, wild and domestic have the potential to carry diseases. Most diseases a feral cat might carry, including feline leukemia, are contagious to other cats, but not to humans. CTFR takes special care to keep feral cats separate from indoor pets and to minimize the risk of cat bites or scratches through careful handling in traps and cages. Feral cats fear humans and are far more likely to hide than to harm anyone.

Q. There are some feral cats in my yard/neighborhood. Should I call Animal Control?

A. In most cases animal authorities in Austin and Round Rock do not respond to calls about feral or homeless cats, simply because they lack the resources to deal with every case. Feral cats that do end up at public shelters must be euthanized, as the vast majority of them can never be tamed and adopted out. Calling Animal Control is unlikely to solve your feral cat problem.

Q. I've been feeding feral cats in my yard/neighborhood, but their numbers are growing. What should I do?

A. Please give us a call, so we can start trapping and spaying/neutering as soon as possible. Uncontrolled cat populations will quickly balloon out of control if measures are not taken to stop procreation. The Austin Humane Society has a free feral cat spay-neuter clinic that we utilize each week.

Q. A stray or feral cat has just had a litter of kittens on my property. What should I do?

A. A stray or feral cat’s kittens can usually be tamed if the socialization begins early. Taming a feral kitten and finding it a home is the best way to ensure that it will have a long, healthy life, free of struggle and hunger. The Feral Cat League has good tips for socializing kittens on their webpage. Be sure to get the kittens’ mother spayed.

Q. Cats are digging up my lawn/garden. What can I do to deter them?

A. A combination of nontoxic cat repellants and TNR will help you coexist with neighborhood feral cats and save your yard. We can help you, or the Cat Repellant and Deterrent Web Site has many good ideas for safely keeping cats out of your garden and other areas.
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