Community (Stray, Feral) Cats
What is a feral cat? According to the ASPCA, " Feral cats are free-roaming domestic cats who were never socialized by humans or have lived outdoors for so long that they have reverted to a wild state."
Feral cats that are brought to area public shelters are typically unable to be adopted due to their lack of socialization and most often, their outcome is euthanasia. Simply trapping and removing feral cats from an area has proven ineffective towards eliminating cats in an area, as new cats move into the vacated area or one or two are missed with trapping and continue to reproduce and repopulate. The effective and humane alternative to trapping and euthanizing feral cats is trapping, neutering and returning the cat back to its area, or TNR. To lean more about feral cats and feral cat management, click here.
MIGHTY MOUSERS (BARN CAT ADOPTION PROGRAM @ BAS)
The outcome for most feral cats that end up in an animal shelter is grim. At our shelter in 2017, 421 feral cats were euthanized. We want to save the lives of more of the thousands (yes, THOUSANDS- there were 2361 cats that entered our shelter in 2017 alone) of cats and kittens that come into our shelter each year. Feral cats are particularly at risk due to their unsocial behavior towards people which makes them unsuitable for indoor living as a house pet. However, these kitties make wonderful barn cats and fulfill an important job of helping to keep rodents away. Plus, you'll enjoy watching the cats as well as having the satisfaction of giving them a much-needed home!
If you have stray/ feral cats in your neighborhood, our Mighty Mousers program can also help! Stray cats that are brought into BAS are held fro 3 days ( per NC law to give an owner time to reclaim, if the cat is a missing pet) examined, vaccinated and if not reclaimed by an owner will be spayed or neutered and ear-tipped before being adopted as a Mighty Mouser! You may adopt stray cats that you have found and brought into the shelter.
In addition to Burlington Animal Services, there are several terrific local resources available to assist you with humane solutions for feral or community cats in your neighborhood:
MIGHTY MOUSER CATS ARE VACCINATED, SPAYED OR NEUTERED AND EAR-TIPPED (TO INDICATE THEY HAVE BEEN STERILIZED) BEFORE GOING TO THEIR NEW BARN HOMES. THE NEW OWNERS AGREE TO PROVIDE THEM WITH A BARN, SHED OR STRUCTURE FOR SHELTER, FOOD TO SUPPLEMENT WHAT THEY CATCH and to keep them current on Rabies vaccinations.
The cats are all are accustomed to independent living. Some kitties may eventually become friendly and others may remain feral. After an initial adjustment period in their new homes, most will stay in place.
Mighty Mouser/ Barn Cat FAQ's:
- What do I need to do to care for the cats? Provide them with shelter, food, water and long term veterinary care as needed. Cats will need to be kept current on their Rabies vaccine, in accordance with NC Rabies laws.
- How long should I keep my new barn cat confined? We recommend enclosed confinement for the first couple of weeks to help your cat learn that the particular area is not only its new home but also its source for food, water and shelter. This can be a room in your barn, shed or in a large crate outfitted with a hiding place (a small travel crate works well for this).
- Is it better to adopt one or multiple barn cats? Cats are social animals, and feral cats generally feel more comfortable among other cats. We strongly recommend that you adopt more than one. The $10 adoption fee is the same whether you adopt one or two!
- I already have cats living on my property. What’s the difference? Unsterilized free‑roaming cats are primary contributors to the seasonal increase in cat reproduction that results in the flood of cats and kittens into shelters. Spaying or neutering those cats can help reduce the number entering the overburdened shelter. Adopting spayed/neutered barn cats will not only drastically reduce the number of unwanted litters in our community, but will also eliminate nuisance behaviors such as spraying and their urge to roam or fight with other cats as well as the spread of diseases.
- Will the cats eat birds and other wildlife on my property? Studies show that the overwhelming cause of wildlife depletion is destruction of natural habitat due to man made structures, chemical pollution, pesticides and drought — not feral cats. However, cats are opportunistic feeders. Providing them with a steady food source will reduce the effect they have on traditional prey. The benefit of having a Mighty Mouser on your farm is that not only do they help control small rodents such as mice, moles and other vermin that can contaminate livestock feed, they help deter snakes. Without a food source of mice or moles, snakes are less likely to hang around. Additionally, there are no poisons for children and pets to get into and no need to set nasty traps.