Redwood Coast Humane Society

What is a feral cat?

The Redwood Coast Humane Society defines a feral cat as a domestic cat that has reverted to a wild state after being lost or abandoned, or a cat that has been born outside to a lost or abandoned cat.

How does the program work?

As long as people continue to abandon pets, especially pets which have not been spayed or neutered, there will continue to be large feral cat populations everywhere. RCHS devotes volunteer efforts to rescuing all feral cats. It is fair to say that some people oppose this practice. Through education and demonstration, we hope to change their perception.

Trap/Neuter/Vaccinate /Release (TNVR)

RCHS has adopted a policy called 'trap/neuter/vaccinate and Release or TNVR. Studies have shown that TNVR to be the most humane and effective way to manage feral cat colonies. Year-round, we capture as many adult feral cats as possible, using humane safety traps. We have the adults neutered or spayed. If the adult cat can be socialized, we foster the animal and find it a permanent home with a caring family. If the adult cat is truly feral, we release it back into the environment where it was captured.

We also capture kittens born to feral mothers. We have an excellent success-rate in socializing feral-born kittens to the point where they can be adopted as lovable, loving pets.

Benefits of TNVR

  • TNVR stabilizes the population of the colony by eliminating future litters.
  • Fighting and noise related to mating behavior is reduced or eliminated.
  • Male spraying is eliminated.
  • Overall health of the cats is improved.

Studies on feral cat colonies have shown that removing a colony creates a vacuum that will be filled by new cats. Neutered animals maintain their group identity and usually do not permit unaltered adults cats to move into their territory.

Lastly, feral cats account for a small part in the decline of bird and other wildlife populations. Habitat loss, pesticides, human activity and inclement weather changes have a greater impact. Feral cats tend to get most of their food from handouts or by scavenging, which is a lot less work for them.

Trap Requests

RCHS owns several Have a Heart traps and will loan them out to the community free of charge. It is RCHS policy to loan out traps only for feral cats, not for raccoons, skunks or any other wild life. If it is clear from the call that the trap is requested for a feral cat, the call will directly be forwarded to the CAt Coordinator. Otherwise the phone monitor will call back and inquire what the trap is needed for.
A handout is available with advice regarding raccoon or skunk problems and will be mailed upon request.

Who pays for the program?

Currently there is no special funding available for the spaying and neutering of feral cats. Everyone who borrows a Have-A-Heart trap from RCHS is asked for a donation toward the cost of the surgery. The amount is based on our low cost prices. Regardless of the donation, the borrower will receive a Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Voucher to present to the Gualala Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Bohn requires that each animal receive a rabies shot if they have not previously had one. The rabies vaccination as well as any other medical treatment becomes the financial responsibility of either the colony care-giver or RCHS. This should be discussed and agreed upon before the trapping begins.

Have-a-Hart Traps for Feral Cat Trapping

The Redwood Coast Humane Society has have-a-hart traps that they will loan to anyone wanting to trap a feral cat. A refundable $25 deposit is required. The trap should be used only for trapping feral cats. it is illegal to trap wild animals. Call RCHS office at 884-1304 if you would like to borrow a trap.