Sterilisation only solution to feral cat boom

2014-05-17 00:00

STERLISATION is the answer to feral cats in Durban, according to the Feral Cat Rescue organisation.

Tracey Hartley, who runs the organisation along with her colleague, Doug Fairrall, said that since January this year she has caught and sterilised 197 cats on her own.

She said people who get feral cats on their properties or at businesses were under the misconception that euthanasing them was the way to deal with the issue.

“There are benefits to having feral cats on a property because they are good for rats and mice and they are very territorial and stop other feral cats from going onto the property that they are on. Once a feeding programme is in place they are not likely to roam or wander off,” she said.

Hartley said it was impossible to count the number of feral cats in Durban, and that every day new cats were found as a result of people dumping a litter of kittens or abandoning their pregnant cats.

Feral cats possess similar traits to domestic cats, relying on humans for food, and often have to resort to living near a dumpster or areas where there are an abundance of rats to survive.

Hartley said their organisation aims to catch the feral cats, sterilise them, and keep them for two nights to recover before releasing them.

“People are also under the misconception that if feral cats are removed from a property their problem will be solved; however, there are so many feral cats around that if five are removed another five will move in. After the cats are sterilised their numbers will decrease,” she said.

Hartley said there have been businesses in Durban which have experienced feral cat issues with about 30 cats on the property, which they have now managed to reduce to eight.

The cats are often adopted by people, disappear from a property or eventually die of old age.

“Often businesses do the right thing and have their cats sterilised. Many of the businesses and people contribute to the organisation as we feed about 100 cats a day,” she said.

Since starting the organisation in 2012 Hartley said that they were trying to service the whole of the Durban community by setting up traps at properties to catch and sterilise the cats.

• kyle.venktess@witness.co.za

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