Organization uses humane approach for feral cats

“People are beginning to see feral cats as deserving of humane treatment, and studies show the effectiveness of spaying or neutering versus euthanizing them.” That statement from Davida duPont, director of the non-profit Colorado Kitty Coalition, explains why she formed the organization a year ago.

The goal of the coalition, based in Fort Collins, is to assist owners of farms, ranches and mobile home parks in managing colonies of feral cats. The coalition uses the “trap, neuter and return” approach, returning cats to the same location. “A lot of research shows that if you simply remove a feral cat colony, another will soon move in,” Davida noted.

This time of year is particularly critical, Davida explained, because kitten season begins in February. It’s best to have female ferals spayed now, before they become pregnant. If a cat already has a litter of kittens, the cat family is trapped and placed in a foster home. The mother is spayed and vaccinated against rabies and distemper, and the kittens can be adopted after they are weaned. Adult ferals cannot generally be socialized with humans, so they are returned to the colony.

This approach leads to more stable and healthy cat colonies. Plus, the colony actually forms a barrier between wild rabid animals and domestic animals.

The Colorado Kitty Coalition is funded primarily by donations. Davida is assisted by volunteers, Drs. Tom Welsh and Stephanie Romm, the Larimer County Humane Society and the Fort Collins Cat Rescue. Property owners are asked to contribute to the low-cost veterinary procedures.

To learn more about having feral cats trapped and neutered, go to www.coloradokittycoalition.org or call 970-663-0012.

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