Q & A

COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT TNR

 RELOCATION vs. RETURNING

1. Can you relocate the feral cats(s) to a barn or farm? 

Feral Feline Project (FFP) has NO farms, barns, sanctuaries or other feral colonies to relocate the feral cats to. Our Trap Neuter and Return (TNR) program is focused on returning them back to their territory after they have been spayed or neutered. It is extremely difficult and usually unsuccessful to try and relocate a feral to a new area.

2.  Can you accept an outdoor/feral cat for the adoption program?   

Feral and semi-feral cats are not suitable for anyone's adoption program.  If you are not sure if your outdoor cat is feral or friendly, ask yourself the following questions: Will it come up to you and your family for attention? Can you pet it, possibly pick it up and handle it? Does it stay when you approach it?  If you are answering no, the cat is most likely not adoptable.  Semi-feral cats sometimes become affectionate with their feeders, but this does not mean they are adoptable. They get used to you, but only you, and will not do well in a shelter situation or even inside.  Feral and semi-ferals should never be turned over to animal control or admitted into a kill or no-kill shelter.  The risk of them being euthanized, due to lack of space and lack of adoptability is very high.

PAYMENT AND COST

1.  Why does it cost $75 per dollars per cat?  These are not my cats why should I have to pay? 

FFP is a not for profit, all volunteer rescue group.  We use private vets who perform the procedures at their cost and we have to forward that cost on to you.  The majority of the donations we receive are used to pay vet bills for sick and injured kittens, special surgeries, food, litter and medicine.   There are lower cost options in Chicago at Tree House, Anti-Cruelty Society and PAWS Chicago that you can pursue.

2.  Can I spread the cost out in payments?

Yes, speak to your FFP representative for details.

3.  When do I pay? 

The payment must be received before the scheduled surgery.

4.  Can I pay by credit card?

 Yes, you can do so via pay pal at Feralfelineproject.org, click Donations.  We cannot process credit cards out in the field. Cash and check are also acceptable.

 TRAPPING PROCESS

1.  How are we going to be able to catch the cats?  They are wild and too smart to go into a trap.

 FFP uses traps especially made for cats.  They have a door on each side, for easy cleaning and holding of a feral cat. Using the right bait and equipment can catch the savviest feral cats.  

2.  How do I schedule a vet appointment? 

Your appointment will be scheduled by your FFP volunteer.  An FFP volunteer is the only person who can make you an appointment.   The cat will be turned away without an appointment.

3. Where do I take the cat?

 Our participating vet is located in Wheeling.  The location will be given to you when our FFP volunteer meets you to give you the traps.

4. What time do I drop off the cat and pick it up?

Drop off is 8-10 AM and same day pick up is 5-6:00pm. 

5. What if I can't make these times? 

You will have to make other arrangements with family or friends to accommodate the time.

6. Can the vet keep the feral cat overnight? 

No.

7. What if I don't catch any cats or only 1 and I was supposed to bring 3 to the vet?  Contact your FFP volunteer.  Bring in what you did catch for the appointment, even if its only 1, we will reschedule at a later date for the others.

8. What if I catch 2 cats in 1 trap?

Bring them in one trap, the vets will separate them.  Do not try to separate them yourself.

9. What if I catch wildlife? 

Turn the trap upside down and the door will automatically open allowing the wildlife to escape.  If you trap a skunk, tip the trap over with a broom or something with a long handle.  NOTE: You should only trap during daylight hours to avoid trapping nocturnal wildlife.

 KITTENS AND PREGNANT FEMALES

1. What happens if the feral cat I am feeding is pregnant?

If she is pregnant and feral, the vet will not be able to tell until she is sedated. It's not safe for anyone, even our vets, to handle a feral cat without sedation.  The sedation amount is calculated for the mother cat and if pregnant, her babies will peacefully go to sleep.  This is not painful for the kittens or fatal for the mother cat.   The mother cat will be spayed and given extra fluids and pain relief.  It is advised, during post operation, you can keep her in the trap an extra day for recovery.

2. How old do the kittens need to be for spaying or neutering? 

Kittens must be 2 lbs or 8 weeks of age to be spayed or neutered by our vet.  Not all vets can spay at 8 weeks due to their lack of equipment.  Our vet has the equipment to perform these surgeries safely.  Kittens under 8 weeks of age should be trapped and socialized so they can be fixed and adopted out.

3. What age can FFP take my kittens for adoption? 

FFP prefers kittens no older then 7 weeks of age for the adoption program (space pending).  We will take orphans of any age up to 8 weeks. Once kittens are 8 weeks and older, they are still small and cute, but very feral and extremely hard to socialize.  The best chance for them to find a home is to get them trapped while young.  They do not have to be weaned to be away from mom. We can care for orphans needing bottle feeding.

4. Why won't FFP take feral kittens past 8 weeks of age for the adoption program? 

It can take up to 8 weeks or more to socialize kittens 8 weeks or older. There is no guarantee they will ever be social enough to be adopted. Space is precious and due to the high demand, we are not able to hold kittens this long. We focus on rescuing younger kittens that can be more easily tamed and adopted out.  

5. Can you socialize a feral adult cat for the adoption program? 

No, this practice is extremely unsafe even got the most trained volunteers.  All feral cats/kittens over 8 weeks of age that we receive will be spayed and returned to their colony/territory. This is the primary purpose of a successful TNR program.

Feral Cat Myths

"I think feral cats should be trapped and removed."

Trapping and removing cats from an area causes the "vacuum effect." As cats are removed, more cats move in for the food and shelter and quickly breed to repopulate the area.

"I think feral cats are diseased and live short, miserable lives. Euthanizing (killing) is the only way to ease their suffering."

This is UNTRUE! Feral cats do very well in a managed, spay and neutered colony.

"Don't feral cats carry rabies?"

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health there have been no positive cases of rabies in cats since 1996. In 1996, one case was reported. The Rabies vaccination is included in the TNR package. 

"I will take the feral cats to a local animal shelter or to a no-kill animal shelter to be adopted."

Feral cats are unsocialized, wild and cannot be adopted out as someone's pet. If taken to a shelter, even a no-kill shelter, these cats may be killed because they are unadoptable.

"I will call animal control or the local police department to have them trapped and removed."

Animal Control may kill the cats or take to them to a shelter where they may be killed. Unfortunately, domesticated cats can be mistaken for feral cats and may be euthanized. There is a very small window with kittens where they can be socialized and adoptable. If kittens are past this window (over 8 weeks) and appear feral, they may be killed.

"I will trap them and drop them off at a farm."

Trapping cats and dumping them on someone else's private property is unacceptable. Cats are very territorial and have close knit ties to their other colony cats. They don't do well if removed from their outdoor home (area). Additionally, when cats are removed from one area, other cats move in for the food and shelter. They breed prolifically to fill the void and will begin to repopulate the area.

"Feral cats are eating the birds and other wildlife."

According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the greatest threat to birds is the depletion of their habitat due to human development. Cats are predatory animals and help keep the the mouse and rat population down!  Keeping TNR'd feral cats on a good feeding schedule will reduce this urge to kill birds.