|PO Box 404, East Aurora, NY 14052
1-888-902-9717 (toll free), www.feralcatfocus.org
Why Feral Cat Eradication is not Effective
Throughout the world there are conflicting views on feral cats. In some places they are
viewed as beneficial animals, controlling rodents. Their presence may also give pleasure to
people who enjoy watching them and caring for them. Elsewhere, feral cats are considered
to be pests or a threat to wildlife. The information indicates that regardless of your
position on feral cats, the best way to deal with them is to employ TNVR -
Studies have proven that TNVR is the single most successful method of stabilizing and
maintaining healthy feral cat colonies with the least possible cost to residents and local
governments while providing the best life for the animals themselves.
Spaying/neutering feral cats:
Stabilizes the population at manageable levels
Eliminates annoying behaviors associated with mating
Is humane to the animals and fosters compassion in the neighborhoods
Less costly than repeated attempts at extermination, costs for repeatedly trapping and
killing feral cats are far higher than promoting stable, non-breeding colonies in the same
Lastly, vacated areas are soon filled by other cats who the start the breeding process all
over again (the vacuum effect)
Firstly, why are the ferals being removed? Are they just inconvenient, do they post a
genuine threat to wildlife or are the cats themselves unhealthy? Extermination is usually
attempted for human convenience. Rarely is it undertaken because the cats themselves
are suffering or because there is a true impact to another species of animals, aside from
Numerous studies have proven that wild bird declines are correlated to human intervention
through the commercial and residential development of grassy fields with low desirable
brush and wetland areas where these birds nest and reside, and not by feral cat hunting.
Furthermore, in urban settings where birds are fed, feral cats prey on the rodents that
come in for the birdseed and bread, rather than the birds themselves. With the absence of
feral cats, yet the constant supply of seed and grain on the ground, rat and mice
populations explode. Rodents are much easier to catch in comparison to birds, thus the
cat's natural instincts set in for the easiest target in the absence of any food sources.
Most of us would probably prefer to have a small, healthy feral cat population, rather than a
larger rodent population in areas where those are the only options. To further safeguard a
particular area for birds, try feeding the feral cats. The food that is deliberately set out
for the cats will entice the cats to become territorial to protect the food and they will not
allow others to move in.
Concerns centered around noise of cats fighting over mating rights, smell of spray or
disease transmission have also been set forth by people who wish to have cats "removed".
People assume that a quick solution of removing them will make everything better. Yet
eradication programs are proven to be ineffective time and time again because typically
new cats move in.
So while removing feral cats might seem attractive from a theoretical and short-term
prospective, eradication has proven to be an elusive goal. There is something about the
location that brought the original cats in that will keep bringing more cats to the location,
whether it is shelter or a food source (such as a neighbor putting food out for the cats or
the presence of rodents). This pattern is termed the "vacuum effect". It has also been
noted, that when cats move back into an area that is a sustainable habitat, litters of
kittens tend to be more frequent and large in size in order to bring the population back up.
Instead, by following the TNVR programs, litters of new kittens are prevented! Mating
behaviors and noise are eradicated. Male urine spray smells are eliminated. Mating calls in
the night are nonexistent. The cats are now vaccinated and healthy.
In conclusion, eradication methods, even if implemented humanely, cannot solve the feral
healthy feral cats the chance of a decent life and freedom from the otherwise endless
cycle of breeding. It is cost-effective and humane and has been proven to work across the
organization that provides fundamental services for
feral cats in Western New York.