Community Effort: Reducing Feral Cat Populations

Feral cat populations overwhelm our urban neighborhoods. That’s why our HERO Team is constantly working to help reduce the number of feral cats through a program called Trap-Neuter-Return.

“It’s a community problem,” HERO Program Director Lauren Hacker said.

Through Trap-Neuter-Return, or TNR, feral cats are humanely trapped, safely spayed or neutered and returned to their home or colony. In 2016, the HERO Team performed more than 1,500 spays or neuters in the field.

What’s causing the problem?

There’s not just one answer, according to Hacker. But, people leaving pets behind can help a colony grow.

“People move, and I think people think cats are more disposable than other animals,” Hacker said.  She says cat colonies often appear near apartment complexes: Northeast Kansas City, Kansas City, Kansas and Independence, Missouri have a particularly high number of feral cats.

How do you trap a feral cat?

You can place a deposit to rent a trap from our Merriam Veterinary Care Center.

“Be patient. You just have to move slow and low,” Hacker said.

Because cats are nocturnal, Hacker suggests trying to trap a feral cat late at night or early in the morning. Wet food or fish inside the trap can help peak a cat’s interest. If you typically leave out food for a feral cat, Hacker says to hold off for 24 hours and then put it inside the trap.

“Cats are going to continue to come where they get their source of food,” Hacker said.  “If you make too much commotion in the area where the cats are, they’re going to wonder what’s up.”

Captured feral cats can be brought to our Merriam Veterinary Care Center for a spay or neuter surgery, rabies vaccine and an ear-tip (to help others identify that they’ve been spayed or neutered), before they are returned to their colony.  The total cost for this appointment is $30.

Our HERO Team‘s work extends beyond feral cats. The team is constantly working to protect underserved animals in our communities, and they are only able to operate because of supporters like you. Pledge to be a Hero and join our efforts!

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