Feral Cats

Most Marin County residents are surprised to learn that they share their neighborhoods and towns with thousands of feral cats. Feral cats are descendants of domesticated felines who strayed from home or were abandoned. They are unaccustomed to human contact and often form colonies comprised of dozens of other ferals. If feral cats are not spayed or neutered, the colonies grow astonishingly fast.

In the past, euthanasia was common in addressing the overpopulation of feral cats. Fortunately, it is now generally recognized that widespread euthanasia is not only inhumane but ineffectual; unsterilized cats breed so rapidly that euthanized animals are quickly replaced by newborn kittens.

TNR, or trap, neuter and return, has proven to be a highly effective and humane way of preventing colonies from growing uncontrollably. Once all the cats in a colony have been sterilized, the size of the colony will diminish naturally with attrition. Although living outdoors is not as safe or as comfortable as living in a home, it is the best possible outcome for many feral felines, provided someone is willing to feed them and monitor their health.

In some cases, adoption is a possible option for feral kittens as well as adults, provided they will tolerate being handled by people. The Marin Humane Society places these cats into foster homes, and if they become socialized to humans, they can be placed up for adoption. This is most successful with kittens, but adult cats have been known to go into permanent homes as well.

If you know of any cats living outdoors who have no one to take care of them, please call the Marin Humane Society at 415.883.4621 and we will work with you to find an effective solution. The best solution for each feral cat depends on their specific situation:

  • We can connect you to organizations that will safely trap feral cats so that they can be spayed or neutered, such as Marin Friends of Ferals, based in San Rafael.
  • Some veterinarians are willing to spay and neuter feral cats, and the Marin Humane Society hands out vouchers that cover up to $85 of the cost of the surgeries.
  • Our own veterinary clinic will spay/neuter, vaccinate and microchip a feral cat for a discounted fee of $75. Our goals are to prevent uncontrolled breeding and to keep ferals healthy, so we are willing to work with you on this price, particularly if you bring us several cats

Marin Humane Society

171 Bel Marin Keys Blvd, Novato, CA 94949
Phone 415.883.4621

Copyright 2011