Have you heard the expression: “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”? It’s a horrible expression when you visualize it really. Then visualize this: A frightened kitten, afraid of humans, forced to live indoors with them, yet not wanting any part of them.
Not every cat belongs indoors in a home. Yes, pet cats should be indoors and sheltered from the numerous perils that are outdoors: Other cats, cruel kids who would like to use a cat for their next “science project,” idiot neighbors who think cats should be shot or poisoned, and “bunchers” who grab up strays to sell to class b animal dealers. Pet cats outdoors are in great peril. But feral cats, being leery of humans are less at risk for most of these harms. So I believe we should keep feral cats FERAL.
Here’s another way to look at it. For every cat in the U.S. to have a home, each American household would have 49 cats. That’s not possible, OBVIOUSLY. So the feral cats who thrive outdoors and are happiest in their wild state, need to be left to being outside. If we fix them and return them through a Trap-Neuter-Return program, we will circumvent unnecessary births and better ensure the cat has a good life without the mating and fighting, and the related diseases that will be minimized after sterilization.
It’s natural for us humans to want to help these feral cats and kittens. Kittens appear to be helpless little beings and many are, but the feral ones are not. They are fierce little monsters who will bite you in the thumb and think nothing about your two week course of antibiotics that will be necessary if they get you good enough.
In my opinion, 6 weeks is the cut-off date to tame a feral kitten. If you feel you want to tame the feral little beast, here is how to do it: Taming Feral Kittens
But if you do tame the kittens, plan on having them fixed and finding them homes on your own, because rescues and shelters are full to the brim. Don’t expect a rescue to take kittens off your hands. For tips on how to rehome a cat, look no further: I Need to Rehome a Cat
The ferals can take care of themselves. They are adapted to their environment and they like it like it is. Imagine someone taking YOU and forcing you to live in the WILD. Same difference!
It’s a common misconception that feral cats look bad. It’s the contrary, they are fine in the wild and can take care of themselves, hunt and maintain a relatively healthy life though without TNR, they will breed prolifically and wind up sick or dead. But you see those situations mostly in barns or in the hands of a hoarder where too many cats are kept in too small of an area and they share the diseases and parasites as well as the outbuilding.
When you see a bedraggled mess of a cat outdoors you either have a stray (once owned cat) that is not good at fending for itself outside of the home, or a very sick feral.
Why not try to get the cat to like you? Why not TRY to make him friendly? Because making an outdoor feral cat trusting of humans puts it in more danger than it would be if it stayed feral. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be loving and kind to the scared cat that seems to WANT TO BE you friend. I’m saying, don’t spend your time trying to win the affections of a feral so that you can get it fixed. That my feral friends is what live-traps are for.
We need to look at the big picture in everything we do in this lifetime as everything (every single little thing) HAS A CONSEQUENCE. Tame the kitten, find it a home—displace a home for a friendly kitten that will be euthanized at the shelter because it has no place to go. It’s the exact same argument for not letting pregnant cats have their kittens. Every life that comes into this world, takes the place of another that will be killed. Until we have NO MORE HOMELESS PETS, we have to spay/abort pregnant cats and leave ferals to be FERAL.
For more compelling reasons to spay a pregnant cat, read this:
Make silk purses out of silk. Leave the sow out of it.