It's so hard to know if cat's are lost, feral or naive people let their cats roam.I wish cat owners would NEVER let their cats outside.All my stay cats are very happy to be indoors.Again it's not worth the dangers to let them out.Thanks again AprilsAngels for to continue in helping.
Yes there are tnr colonies which help in the rodent problems.Yes they are fed and have shelter but I'm sure the life span of an out door cat is shortened . Ideal life would be an indoor cat who's life span can be 20.
Cats that are in TNR colonies are there because they are feral. Friendly cats who are trapped as part of a TNR project are put up for adoption whenever possible. Although ferals are outside, colony caretakers provide food, shelter and, if needed, medical care. They are happier outside and, when taken care of, live reasonably long lives. I would prefer that all cats be inside cats, but it's not possible.
Really no easy solution for the feral cats. It's up to RESPONSIBLE humans to spay and neuter cats so the population quits exploding in all these unwanted cats. There is so many low income programs to fix the pets so there should be no excuse except laziness and neglect.Also adopt don't shop.There is a new law in California that makes pet stores adopt out cats and dogs. Stop puppy mills. Best life of a cat is still indoors.
@mute, TNR Colony Caretakers are required to take their cats to the vet each year for vaccines and a check-up. They accomplish this by humanely trapping the cats. Not all vets in Chicago will see feral cats, but the Colony Caretakers know which ones will.
Most of the cats will come at dusk (twilight) or dawn and pretty much come the same time every day as long as the Caretaker is consistent in putting the food out at the same time. This is when the Caretakers notice if there is a cat that is "missing" or a cat has an illness of some sort. No, the Caretaker won't be able to get up close and personal with the cats, but they can generally be close enough to see if there is an issue with one of them. If they have an illness, they will humanely trap them and bring them to a vet.
It's not ideal for a cat to be outside, but if a cat is feral it cannot be brought inside and kept as a pet. As @DebbieM mentioned, the ones that are strays and not ferals (and kittens) are generally brought inside and put into the foster system so that homes can be found for them.
I haven't heard any TNR group or Rescue Organization say that it's okay to keep non-feral cats outside. That's part of the purpose of TNR, to reduce the outdoor cat population by spaying or neutering the cats so that they don't keep reproducing, so there are ultimately less cats outside.
There is often confusion between feral cats and stray cats.
How can I tell the difference between stray cats and feral cats?
This can be very difficult to figure out. One way to start is to determine if you can pet the cat. If you can, she is either not feral or she is feral and has bonded to you as her caretaker. The opposite is equally confusing. A cat that does not allow human contact is not necessarily feral. She may be feral, or she may be a frightened domesticated cat that has recently become lost.
To further complicate things, feral cats can be classified as totally feral, semi-feral, or reverted feral. Semi-feral cats and reverted feral cats can become very bonded with their caretakers and will often eventually let you touch them, vocalize, or eat in front of you.
Can feral cats live indoors?
Unfortunately, wild, undomesticated animals are not suitable for adoption. Imagine a raccoon loose in your home. He would be terrified and would try to find a way out. That is exactly what would happen if an adult feral cat were let loose indoors. While opinions vary in animal rescue, with a proper socialization plan, kittens born outside have an opportunity to be socialized.
Can feral cats be socialized and then adopted out to good homes?
Even with the best efforts is usually nearly impossible to socialize a feral adult cat to the level where it is comfortable to be around humans other than his original caretaker(s).
Thank you Chi-Girl Portage Park. You saved me a lot of time. Apparently you have a good understanding of feral cats and I appreciate your sharing the information. I'll refrain from responding to Mute as she seems to always be looking for an argument and I'm not in the mood.
@Chi-Girl Portage: "While opinions vary in animal rescue, with a proper socialization plan, kittens born outside have an opportunity to be socialized."
just out of curiosity do you have any idea what the "window of opportunity" so to speak would be for a kitten to be socialized? for example, i have a now 1 year old cat/kitten who spent 100% of her first ~10 weeks of life outdoors, and has spent 100% of her life since then indoors and i've never noticed any kind of problems whatsoever.
@BelmontCentral, I don't. Tree House says it's ideal to begin socializing before 8 weeks, but there are many kittens who are older than that who can still be socialized. I think that the older they get, the tougher it becomes. I have heard of people bringing them in at four months old and still being able to socialize them, but it took a long time.