CARE provides assistance to Chatham County residents who are willing to be caretakers of feral or community cats. Assistance is provided on a case by case basis and as funding is available.
WHAT ARE FERAL CATS?
Also called community cats, feral cats are the same breed as pet cats. But, because most feral cats are born and live outdoors without human contact, they can’t become people’s pets unless they are caught and socialized while they are still kittens.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO SPAY OR NEUTER FERAL/COMMUNITY CATS?
One female cat can have more than 3 litters of kittens in a year. With an average of 4-6 kittens per litter, it’s possible for a single, unsterilized cat to give birth to more than 18 kittens in one year. Female kittens may become pregnant at five months of age, starting the cycle of unwanted litters and compounding the over-population problem.
HOW DOES CARE HELP FERAL/COMMUNITY CATS IN CHATHAM COUNTY?
CARE provides traps and consultation to anyone who wishes to trap feral cats on their property as long as they are willing to continue to provide food, water and shelter for them. CARE assists with spaying or neutering these cats, along with providing vaccines and microchips. This is known as Trap Neuter Vaccinate Return (TNVR). After surgery the cats go back to their original location where they are cared for and monitored by the property owner or other volunteer from the community. Adult cats have their left ear tipped (by clipping the top of the ear), which is the universal symbol of a fixed feral cat, so they can be easily identified as having undergone sterilization surgery in the future. Once spayed or neutered they cannot reproduce.
CARE can also provide plans for feeding stations and cold weather housing options for feral/community cats to provide year-round comfort and safety. If CARE has foster space available, we are sometimes able to socialize young feral kittens and help them become suitable family pets.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT FERAL/COMMUNITY CATS?
If you see stray cats or kittens and are interested in helping them, notify us or Chatham County Animal Services. If you have feral cats on or near your property and are interested in keeping them safe and healthy, CARE can loan you traps and help you get them spayed or neutered as long as you are willing to continue to feed and care for them.
Most importantly, make sure your own cats are spayed or neutered. CARE can help if you cannot afford to spay or neuter your pet cat if you qualify for CARE’s Lillie’s Fund. For more information about feral/community cats go to www.alleycat.org.