Is spay/neuter/release working? Statistics from the San Diego Department of Animal Control as of June 30, 1997 show that while the number of cats adopted or claimed by owners has remained fairly constant over the years, there has been a decrease of almost 50% in the number of cats impounded and killed, compared with 1992 (when the FCC clinics started). Before the FCC was formed, the number of cats impounded and killed had been going up 15% per year!
So, you ask, what exactly is a feral cat? Read on, and you'll learn more about a problem that's causing a lot of suffering and costing you money!
Feral cats are the "wild" offspring of domestic cats and are primarily the result of pet owners' abandonment or failure to spay and neuter their animals, allowing them to breed uncontrolled. Feral cat "colonies" can be found behind shopping areas or businesses, in alleys, parks, abandoned buildings, and rural areas. They are elusive and do not trust humans.
Many people assume their animals will survive when they move away and leave them behind. Contrary to popular belief, domestic animals do not automatically return to their "natural" instincts and cannot fend for themselves!
Already, U.S. animal shelters are forced to kill millions of homeless cats and dogs annually. The alternative to humane euthanasia for almost every stray is a violent end or slow, painful death. Many "throwaways" die mercilessly outdoors from starvation, disease, abuse or as food for a predator.
A pair of breeding cats, which can have two or more litters per year, can exponentially produce 420,000 offspring over a seven-year period. And the overpopulation problem carries a hefty price tag. Statewide, more than $50 million (largely from taxes) is spent by animal control agencies and shelters for cat-related expenses.
In response to this staggering problem, the Feral Cat Coalition was formed by Sally Mackler and Rochelle Brinton, DVM. The FCC is an organization that traps and spays/neuters feral cats, then returns them to their caretakers. This service is provided to the community at no cost by licensed veterinarians and volunteers with one goal in mind: reducing the enormous number of homeless, unwanted cats.
Studies have proven that trap-neuter-release is the single most successful method of stabilizing and maintaining healthy feral cat colonies with the least possible cost to local governments and residents, while providing the best life for the animals themselves. Spaying/neutering homeless cats:
In the San Diego County area:
Outside of the greater San Diego area:
If you are interested in starting a program in your area, contact the Feral Cat Coalition. We have detailed information that will help you get up and running. Plus, some of it is just interesting reading.
Most of our printed information is available at the links below. If for some reason you are unable to take advantage of this information in electronic form, or if your needs extend beyond the scope of topics covered here, feel free to contact us.
This collection of FCC and related documents will continue to grow, so stay tuned.
Since we began in November 1992, we have spayed/neutered nearly 20,000 cats!
The FCC is made up entirely of volunteers, and donations are always welcome and needed for surgical supplies!
Please send your tax-deductible contributions to:
Feral Cat Coalition
9528 Miramar Road
San Diego, CA 92126
For clinic reservations, contact our message center at (619) 758-9194 (local calls only, please). For information other than clinic reservations, please send us an email.
Be responsible: spay or neuter your cats.
[Page updated March 2013]