Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Feeding a feral cat colony

When I learned about my friend moving a few hours away, I was sad. When she approached me about taking care of her feral colony, I felt honored. Now, I am now a proud caretaker of six feral cats.

Ferals are cats that are free roaming and do not want to live with humans. I have such a respect for these resourceful felines who form bonds with other cats in their situation, establish a hierarchy, and adapt to their ever changing environment. Caretakers are the people that help their community cats, or ferals, by humanely trapping the cats in the colony, bringing them to a veterinarian to neuter or spay and vaccinate the cats, and then return the cats to the colony to live their natural lives. This practice is called TNR, Trap-Neuter-Return, and sometimes TNRM, with the “M” standing for “maintain.”

I look at this opportunity, my own colony, as a great way to help these cats in our community. I hope to be a great guardian-- putting out food and water, shelter for the weather extremes, humanely catching any sick or injured cats for veterinary care when necessary, and fixing any newcomers that happen to absorb into the colony.

Last weekend I brought my morning coffee, my binoculars, and my camera to catch sight of my new charges. One was eager enough to chow on the wet food that he even welcomed my touch. What an extraordinary gift! The others waited warily in the bushes until I sat a safe distance of ten feet away, then they cautiously approached the food all the while keeping a watchful eye on what I was up to. I felt like I was on a safari of sorts, but the kind of shots I took was from a camera and taking in my subjects through my binoculars.

It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning, and I look forward to many more such mornings as I learn more about my feral colony!

Autumn Wagner
Adoption Program Director


  1. Dear Autumn:
    Congrats on your colony, I am a caretaker to a colony here in Mesquite, Nevada and have been taking care of them for close to two years. My colony has around twenty five cats in it and they all have been neutered or spayed and vaccinated. I can't tell you the joy I get from them and they put a smile on my face every morning. Good luck with yours!

  2. I love the cat Jessica and the kittens and had fun naming them: Mittens,Alae,Amae,ittybittykitty,I believe boots was 5 lol. I have 2 kittens and enjoy every minute they give me, if I could I would have a couple more with a puppy lol. Y'all have a great day. Love the articles too.