Feral Cat Program
A feral cat is a cat that is no longer, or never has been, domesticated. These cats may have been born to a feral mother, or may have become feral after being lost or abandoned by an owner. Feral cats are not socialized, and will avoid human contact the way any wild animal will. Feral cats exist everywhere, from rural communities to urban settings. They survive in groups called colonies, which tend to form near a source of food or shelter. Feral cats live outside, and are happy doing so.
The Benefits of Feral Cats
Unfortunately, feral cats are often considered nuisance animals, but feral cats provide some real benefits to your neighborhood. These cats will help keep the pest population in check. This includes mice, rats, snakes, and insects. Additionally the presence of feral cats helps keep other undesirable scavengers, such as raccoons and possums, away from the area. The key to maintaining a beneficial feral cat population is a program called Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).
TNR is the most humane and effective way of controlling the feral cat population in your neighborhood. No matter how aggressive, animal control laws will never solve the feral cat problem. As quickly as feral cats are removed, other cats, or other species, will fill the territory. Nationwide, the best solution to manage feral cat issues is TNR. TNR works like this:
Trap: Using humane traps, trap each unaltered cat in the colony.
Neuter: Take the animal (in the trap) to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, given vaccines and eartipped (a universal symbol that the animal is altered).
Return: Return the animal to its original outdoor home. By controlling the feral cats' ability to reproduce, the population in your neighborhood will not grow over time.
The feral cat program provides the spay or neuter surgery, ear tip and rabies vaccination to feral cats from any parish for $25 per cat or kitten at the Louisiana SPCA Community Clinic. There can be up to a weeks wait for appointments, so we recommend making appointments for your feral cats and setting aside time to trap the night before or the morning of your appointment. When calling, please leave your name, phone number, the number of cats you expect to trap and specify that these are feral cats and not domestic pets. Appointments may be made by calling 504.363.1333. The program coordinator will contact you within a week of your call.
Unfortunately, we cannot take trapped cats at the last minute due to the high number of surgeries booked per day.
If you have complaints regarding nuisance behavior caused by cats in your neighborhood, wish to have the cats removed and turned in to the shelter, you can call Humane Law Enforcement at 504.368.5191 ext. 100 to request a trap. Please be aware that you must file a Feral Complaint Form with the shelter documenting the nuisance the cats have caused before we may proceed. All attempts will be made to mediate the situation humanely before resorting to removal. Be advised that services will be on a first come, first served basis and that there is a waiting list for Humane Law Enforcement to respond. The public is advised that if removal is urgent, trapped cats may be turned in over the counter during regular business hours. Feral cats will not be placed up for adoption.
Why should you adopt a feral cat?
Do you have a rodent problem? In New Orleans, that’s no wonder. Blighted properties, raised homes and canals allow pests such as rats, snakes and other nuisance animals to breed out of control. There is a solution. Adopt a feral cat! If you feed neighborhood cats, Louisiana SPCA offers low cost spay and neuter through our Trap-Neuter-Return program to allow these cats to stay in the neighborhood as working animals without having litters of unwanted kittens. And if you like cats but have none in your neighborhood to do the job, Louisiana SPCA is looking for cat-friendly neighborhoods, barn homes or country locations to place sterilized feral (non-domesticated) cats. Pests such as rats, mice and snakes enter barns, sheds, workshops and homes, causing property destruction. In many cases, the damage to equipment can be costly, and poisons that eliminate pests may threaten the health of pets or children. Feral cats depend on secure territory, food, water and shelter for survival, and in return for basic care, will maintain a helpful presence on your property. All Barn Cats are spayed/neutered, vaccinated for Rabies, and Feline Leukemia, FIV and are Heartworm negative. Each cat is available at no cost to qualified adopters. If you can provide a safe haven for these cats, please contact Louisiana SPCA’s Feral Cat Coordinator at 504.762.3306 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.