Hill County Paw Pals, Hill County, Texas

Feral Cat Colonies—Prevalent and Growing in Hill County


Feral cats are the offspring of lost or abandoned pet cats that have grown to be unaccustomed to contact with people—growing too fearful and wild to be handled.  Female cats can have a litter two to three times a year, and their kittens, if they survive, will become feral without early contract with people.  The exponential growth rate of cats is astounding—two cats can potentially produce over 420,715 offspring is just four years!  This total balloons to 10 million cats after 10 years!  Feral cats typically live within colonies and defend a specific territory where food (restaurant dumpster, person who feeds them) and shelter (beneath a porch, abandoned building) are available.  The lifespan of feral cats is short (2-3 years) because of their stressful existence due to malnourishment and disease.  Females may become pregnant as young as 4-5 months of age.  Half of the kittens usually die.  Feral cat colonies cause potential health risks to humans and other animals because of rabies and insect borne diseases.  Other problems create a nuisance and include frequent, loud noise from fighting and mating behavior, foul odors from unneutered male cats spraying to mark their territory, and flea infestations. The visible suffering of malnourished and dying cats and their kittens is a heartbreaking experience for those living nearby, especially when few resources are available to help.

Some people believe that eliminating feral cat colonies can be as simple as removing them for euthanasia but this would be quite expensive and has proven to be not effective.  One of the main reasons is that it is nearly impossible to remove every cat—leaving the remaining to breed.  Also, other feral cats would simply move into the vacant territory.  Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a strategy best suited in controlling feral cat colonies.  They are spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies, and surgically ear-tipped in one ear (universally-recognized sign of a cat who has been TNRed).  Without proactive action, feral cat colonies will continue to increase.  When feral cats are TNRed, their health improves because they no longer have frequent litters and fighting over mates diminishes, and their nuisance behaviors are greatly reduced or eliminated while reducing the number of cats over time.

Paw Pals would like to introduce an initiative to bring correction to feral cat colonies that remain prevalent in Hill County by seeking interested people who would like to become involved and help us with this new program.  If you are interested in helping set up a Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) program please contact us.  If you would like to contribute money, Paw Pals has established a dedicated fund for this program.  Please email hcpawpals@yahoo.com or call (254) 580-0679.  To learn more about our organization, please visit : www.helphillcountyanimals.com.