Feral Cats in Hobart

How to Help Stray and Homeless Cats in Your Community

What to do when you find a homeless stray cat.

While some stray cats are abandoned by their human families, many are lost. A little detective work will help determine if the stray you’ve found is abandoned or lost and what your next steps should be. Meanwhile, keep the cat separated from your other pets to prevent the spread of any unknown diseases.

Is the cat lost? Is the animal in good condition, well fed, clean, easy to approach? Is he wearing collar or I.D. tags? Most pet owners don’t use collars and tags on their cats. If the stray has tags, notify the owner from this information. The issuer of a rabies or city license tag, whose telephone number is usually on the tag, can also give you the owner’s name, address and phone number.

If the cat doesn’t have any identification: Some animal welfare organizations use tattoos for identification. Check inside the ears, the abdomen or leg for a tattoo. If the cat has a tattoo, contact a vet or the local humane society, where they can tell you what organization originally tattooed the animal. They may have records of the owner or adopter.

Ask a vet to scan the cat for a microchip, or call us at the Humane Society of Hobart as we have lost and found services to help connect cats back with their owners.

What if the stray is sick or hurt? You should take the animal to a vet. If the animal’s injuries are too severe, the vet may consider euthanasia. It is better for the animal to die a humane death than to suffer a slow and painful death.

What next? Should you keep the cat? If you decide to provide a home for the cat yourself, don’t expose you animals to the stray until you know it’s in good health. Keep the animal separated from the other animals. Your first step is to take her to a vet for a complete exam. The vet can tell you the cat’s approximate age, physical condition and sex. The vet can also let you know what vaccination and diet the cat needs and when to have it neutered or spayed.

Trap - Neuter - Return Program (TNR)

What is Trap-Neuter-Return?

Trap-Neuter-Return is the humane and effective approach for stray and feral cats. Now in practice for decades in the US after being proven in Europe, scientific studies show that Trap-Neuter-Return improves the lives of feral cats, improves their relationships with the people who live near them, and decreases the size of colonies over time. Trap-Neuter-Return is successfully practiced in hundreds of communities and in every landscape and setting. It is exactly what it sounds like: Cats are humanely trapped and taken to a veterinarian to be neutered and vaccinated. After recovery, the cats are returned to their home—their colony—outdoors. Kittens and cats who are friendly and socialized to people may be adopted into homes.

Grounded in science, TNR stops the breeding cycle of cats and therefore improves their lives while preventing reproduction. It is a fact that the removal and killing of outdoor cats that animal control has been pursuing for decades is never ending and futile. Since feral cats are not adoptable, they are killed in pounds and shelters.

Contact our Outreach Coordinator at Humane Society of Hobart to volunteer to help TNR stray cats in your neighborhood. outreach@hshobart.org

Trap-Neuter-Return Stabilizes Feral Cat Colonies Colonies that are involved in TNR diminish in size over time.

• During an 11-year study of TNR at the University of Florida, the number of cats on campus declined by 66%, with no new kittens being born after the first four years of operation.

  • A study of the impact of TNR on feral cat colonies in Rome, Italy, also observed colony size decrease between 16% and 32% over a 10-year period. Trap-Neuter-Return quickly stabilizes feral cat populations by instantly ending reproduction and by removing socialized cats from the colony.
  • A TNR program at the University of Texas A&M neutered 123 cats in its first year, and found no new litters of kittens the following year.
  • Over the course of the same study, 20% of the cats trapped were found to be socialized stray cats and adopted.
  • Trap-Neuter-Return relieves cats of the constant stresses of mating and pregnancy.
  • Undesirable mating behaviors cease, like roaming, yowling, spraying, and fighting.
  • Cats’ physical health improves. Studies have found that neutering improves feral cats’ coat condition and helps them gain weight. Research at the University of Florida shows that they gain weight and stray less after they’ve been neutered, so that’s a benefit to their welfare, as well.
  • Cats are vaccinated against rabies.
  • Cats live long, healthy lives.
  • • The population stabilizes—no new kittens!
  • • Cats become better neighbors.
  • Trap-Neuter-Return creates opportunities for outreach, education, and cooperation.

Updated 7-13-19