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Feral Cat Information

  • Feral cats show up for lots of reasons and their numbers get out of control when folks feed them but don’t get them spayed or neutered. Lots of kittens are born and suddenly there are too many cats.
  • Some cities trap and euthanize community cats. That doesn’t work, though. Other cats will simply move in to take advantage of the food source. This is called the vacuum effect and is well proven.
  • TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) does work. Cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear tipped (the universal symbol of a sterilized and vaccinated cat), and returned to their outdoor home. The population doesn’t grow because there are no more kittens. Behaviors like yowling, fighting, and spraying stop or are greatly reduced. TNR is humane and it works.

SAAF Spay Neuter Clinic can help. Here are the details:

SAAF Spay Neuter Clinic offers a package for “community” Feral cats that live outside full time now, and will be returned to live outside once surgery is completed.  The package includes spay or neuter surgery, a rabies vaccine, pain medication injection and an eartip. This package is $40.

To receive feral cat pricing, all of the following requirements must be met:

  1. Cats must live outdoors full time. This can be any cat that is truly a “feral” A Cat that was born outside that are now house cats, or which you plan to bring inside and find a home for, do not qualify for the community cat package.
    1. A feral cat is an un-owned domestic cat that lives outdoors and avoids human contact: it does not allow itself to be handled or touched, and usually remains hidden from humans.
    2. Cats must arrive and depart  in a humane live trap(regular cat carriers or anything other than a humane live trap are not acceptable) with only one cat per trap – NO EXCEPTIONS!!! 
  • We will not transfer cats from carriers to traps, and we do not permit clients to transfer cats from carriers to traps on our premises, including the parking lot. If you bring a non-feral cat in a live trap on feral cat day, the cat will be declined for surgery that day and you will be requested to make an appointment on another domestic animal day
  • You may not check outlive trap the day of your appointment. Traps must be checked out at least 2 days in advance. 

    Live traps are available to check out from the clinic for a $30 refundable deposit. These traps can only be checked out to clients who have an appointment for a feral cat on the next scheduled feral cat day.

     Notes on traps and trapping:

    1. The live trap must be big enough so that the cat can comfortably turn around, stand up and lie down.  
    2. Do not leave the trap unattended overnight, ESPECIALLY IN COLD OR INCLEMENT WEATHER.
    3. Immediately cover a trapped cat with a sheet or towel and move them to a sheltered area.  Leave the cover in place while transport and when you bring the cat into the clinic. We will use our own cover when the cat arrives. Be sure and bring yours back at pickup. This significantly reduces stress on the cat.
    4. Cats will receive a rabies vaccine (age appropriate) and an ear tip – no exceptions!!
    5. Cats must arrive at the clinic between 7:30 and 830 on “feral cat day”.   If you cannot be at the clinic by 8:30am, please do not set a trap!  Discharge times determined by patient load. Receptionists will inform you the day of your appointment.
    6. Plan ahead!  Cats must be kept indoors, in the trap, from 24 – 48 hours post surgery.  You will receive specific instructions upon discharge.  It is the trapper’s responsibility to ensure these cats are cared for after surgery. 

      Why all the rules?

    It may appear as though we are trying to be difficult with all of these rules, but they are in place for the safety of the cats, our staff, and you, and to ensure that the community cat package is only being used for cats that are truly outside cats.   Below are questions and concerns that we frequently hear from our clients, and an explanation of we enforce our rules.

    Why can’t I bring the cat in a regular carrier and still get community cat pricing if the cat is going to live outside permanently? Sometimes outdoor cats are friendly with their caregiver, but will not allow anyone else near them.  For the safety of everyone involved, including the cat, the clinic has to assume that any cat that lives outside permanently is not necessarily a friendly cat.  The bars on a live trap allow us to anesthetize the cat before they are handled, so there is no risk of injury to our staff or to the cat.   This may not be the case if our staff has to reach into a standard cat carrier and remove a frightened and/or angry cat so that we can anesthetize.

    I can handle the cat safely.  Why won’t you let me transfer her to a live trap? Even if she is friendly with you in her own environment, the cat is very likely going to be stressed after being placed in a carrier and transported. This can make her dangerous to you, and you risk injury to the cat if she panics during transfer and you have to try to wrestle her into a live trap.  We want to ensure that you and the cat are both safe.

    Why does this package just apply to feral cats that live outside full time?  I’m being a good person by taking in a stray cat and keeping it or finding a home for it.  Can’t you help me out with the cost?  SAAF believes that every companion animal should be spayed or neutered for its own health and to reduce animal overpopulation and the resultant euthanasia of healthy animals.  We work very hard to keep our fees low to make our services affordable to everyone.  We are mission driven, and not trying to make a profit.  However, we still have to pay for our facilities, medical supplies, and staff salaries.

    Please understand:  We lose almost $23 on every feral cat surgery package.  We are willing to do this because we strongly believe that a major part of controlling animal overpopulation is preventing outside cats from freely reproducing.  $23 may not sound like a lot, but multiplied by the almost 1200 feral cats we sterilize each year, it adds up to around $27,000 that we must raise in donations to cover the loss. We don’t want to have to increase our prices across the board to cover this loss.  We hope that everyone will be honest with us about the cat being a true feral cat and where will live after surgery so that we can keep all of our fees affordable.

    Additionally, the organizations that generously provide some financial subsidies for community cats require that the funds they provide are only used for feral cats that live outside permanently.  We run the risk of losing this funding if we allow the funds they provide to be used for anything but cats that live outside permanently.  Since these organizations routinely pay anywhere from $10 to 100% of the cost of feral cat surgeries, it is very important that we follow their rules.

  • Feral cats can be tested for FIV/FeLV at the caretakers request for an additional fee of $25.

feral cats