Desert Messenger

May 18, 2011

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M�� 18, 2011 FEREL CATS FAQ EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE FERAL (MAYBE EVEN SOMETHINGS YOU DIDN’T WANT TO KNOW TOO) By Beth Praast FACT: Outdoor cats have existed alongside humans for 10,000 years. They are not a new phenomenon. Feral and stray cats live and thrive in every landscape, from the inner city to rural farmland - from rugged mountains to fl at prairies and yes, even on the desert. FACT: Feral cats are not socialized to people. Therefore, they are not adoptable. Feral cats don’t belong indoors and are typ- ically wary of us. However, as members of the domes- tic cat species (just like pet cats), they are protected un- der state anti-cruelty laws. FACT: Feral cats should NOT be taken to pounds and shelters. Feral cats’ needs are not ���.D�����M��������.��� adult cat would, like spitting, hissing, and running from human contact. To become pets, they will need to be socialized, or taught to be comfortable around people. If the kittens are eight weeks or younger, usually just about anyone can socialize them by following some simple steps. Kittens older than two months (eight weeks) of age often take more time and skill to socialize, and possibly never will be socialized. FACT: Feral cats live healthy lives in their outdoor homes. Just because they don’t live in our are the offspring of stray or abandoned pets, raised without human contact and living typically in colonies where food and shelter are available. They lead harsh lives, shortened by malnutrition, disease, trauma, met by your current animal control and shelter system, where animals who are not adoptable are usually killed. Feral cats live full, healthy lives out- doors. Even no-kill shelters CAN NOT place feral cats in homes. FACT: Very Young Feral kittens can be adopted. Feral kittens can often be adopted into homes, but they must be socialized at a very early age. There is a crucial window, and if they aren’t handled in time, they will remain feral and there- fore unadoptable. With some time and attention, you can work with young feral kittens to help them become af- fectionate and loving companions. It’s not a transformation that happens overnight—socializing kittens is a big commitment—but it’s a very reward- ing experience. Kittens who do not have any contact with humans after they are born will be feral, regardless of whether their mother is a lost house cat or a feral cat living in a colony. They will be fright- ened of people and demonstrate all of the signs of fear and anxiety that an and high kitten mortality. Feral cats are often seen as a public nuisance” homes doesn’t mean they are ‘home- less.’ Yet the current animal control system and even misguided animal welfare organizations believe that tak- ing feral cats to shelters, where nearly 100% of them will be killed, is more humane than leaving cats to live outdoors. The science— and the opinion of most Americans—tells a dif- ferent story. A 2006 study found “Feral cats that of 103,643 stray and feral cats examined in spay/neuter clinics in six states from 1993 to 2004, less than 1% of those cats needed to be euthanized due to debilitating condi- tions, trauma, or infec- tious diseases. Feral cats live full, healthy lives out- doors. 1 FACT: Catch and kill does NOT work. Feral cats choose to re- side in locations for two reasons: (1) There is a food source, intended or not and (2) There is shelter. When cats are removed from a location, new cats move in or survivors breed to capac- ity. This is called a vacuum-effect, and is well-documented. There are many old and abandoned buildings here in Quartzsite where colonies of feral cats live, mate, and thrive. A great breeding place for the feral. Catch and kill attempts may tempo- rarily reduce the number of feral cats in a given area, but two things happen: (1) Intact survivors continue to breed, and (2) Other cats move in to the now- available territory. This is a phenom- enon known as the “vacuum effect”. Want to stop or avoid the number of feral cats in your neighborhood? Re- move the food source and remove the shelter. Stop feeding them, and tear down, demolish or just plain get rid of MAY ACTIVITIES May 21, & 29, Nascar May 30th - Memorial Day EVERY THURSDAY: 1st District meeting Welton Post 6790 Hamburgers w/fries $3.50 Cheese burgers w/fries $4 Chili burger w/fries $5 VFW Meetings are held the 1st Monday 6pm Mens Auxiliary Meeting: 1st Tuesday 6pm Ladies Auxiliary Meeting: 3rd Tuesday 6:30pm VFW Rides (Grandpa’s): 1st Saturday 6pm House Committee Meeting: 2nd Monday 6pm the old abandoned building they live in. Want them out from under your house? Close off any entryway they may have. FACT: Trap- Neuter - Return DOES work. Trap-Neuter-Return known as TNR benefi ts the cats and the community. Cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinat- ed, and eartipped (the universal sym- bol of a neutered and vaccinated cat), and then returned to their outdoor home. The colony’s population stabi- lizes the natural way - no more kittens! Trap- Neuter-Return improves their lives and improves their relations with the community. The behaviors and stresses associated with mating stop. Trap-Neuter-Return is the only hu- mane, effective approach for feral cats. 1 Wallace, Jennifer L, and Julie K Levy, “Popu- lation Characteristics of Feral Cats Admitted to Seven Trap-Neuter-Return Programs in the United States,” Journal of Feline Medicine And Surgery 8 (2006): 279-284. Watch for articles on Ferel Cats throughout the summer in the Desert Messenger. P��� 9 Q ELEMENTARY SCHOOL UPDATES Quartzsite Elementary School End of Year Dates May 17-20 8th grade trip Disney & Calif. Adventure, leave at 6am, return on 5/20 at 11pm. May 24th Awards Potluck, starts at 4:30pm. Awards start at 6pm. May 24th Field/Water Day- have children wear clothes that they can get wet May 25th Staff Volleyball game vs. kids at 1:30pm May 26th * 9:30am Kindergarten Promotion * 6:00pm 8th Grade Promotion May 27th * Yearbook signing party * Last day of school August 18th is the First day of school VFW Post 769 VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS 120 S. Palo Verde Quartzsite, AZ 928-927-7697

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