For people with feral colonies in their communities, trying to get a handle on the problem when resources are so stretched in our city can be truly overwhelming. With anywhere from 100,000-300,000 feral cats in Toronto, rescue groups such as Toronto Cat Rescue are at capacity not only in our adoption program, but in all other areas of our work. Our trappers, drivers, and recovery homes are working on countless feral colony projects and we rarely can take on more, however we want to work with communities to empower individuals to learn how to get feral cat populations under control. Whenever we can help with the physical work we will, however most often our resources are stretched – but that doesn’t mean we can’t provide guidance, advise and support to get your colony project started.
For more information on how to start a TNR(M) (Trap-Neuter-Return-Monitor) project, please call our hotline 416-538-8592, option 3 – our “Help for Cats” line. A volunteer will pick up your message and work you through your kitty “case”. These instructions are designed only to help with the basics of recovery – if you have no experience with feral cats, we recommend seeking further advice or attending a workshop.
TNR(M) is a proven effective program which tackles overpopulation at its core. Feral cats cannot be socialized as adults to become domestic indoor cats, despite being exactly the same physically as your pampered pet. They are unsocialized and handling them is therefore equivalent to dealing with a wild animal. We can’t stress enough how many people make the mistake of underestimating what a feral cat is. Despite their nature these cats deserve to live their lives and euthanizing them is not only inhumane, but it is also ineffective at ending the problem in the long-term. Spaying/neutering and returning these cats to their stomping grounds allows them to enjoy their lives in peace, while ensuring no more kittens are born into this hard existence.
Many people who take on a TNR project forget to plan from start to finish. Trapping the cats and getting them to a spay/neuter clinic is only half the work. These cats also need to be recovered post-surgery before being returned to their colonies. Recovery time ranges depending on factors such as the cat’s stress level, their health, and the weather – however a general rule is that males need to be recovered for 3-4 days, and females for 5-7 days.
Some traps are built to be used as recovery cages, complete with divider panels for cleaning litter and replenishing food/water. This is the easiest way to recover a cat, however if you do not have access to a trap such as this one, the following attachment is a guide for recovering in a traditional dog crate set-up: Step by Step Feral Recovery Guide.
TCR would like to thank those of you that have, or will be making a commitment to help end cat overpopulation. Recovering feral cats is a short-term and easy way to make a big difference. If you want to help TCR by becoming a recovery home, please fill out our Volunteer Form today!
This sweet little black and white cat who looks like a little cow is currently being boarded at a vet’s office after being treated for a bacterial infection in his bowels. He is finished with the treatment and desperately needs a cozy, caring family to come home too. Ideally, his foster or forever home will not have other cats, so that he can easily re-integrate into the comforts of home living, and his family can monitor him after his long vet stay.
This young dude (DOB January 15, 2010) was rescued from the lonely streets of a very rural community and placed into the care of a loving foster home, where he befriended cats and dogs alike. With his days as a stray behind him, Max enjoyed life with his foster family until he fell ill and had to been boarded at a vet’s office for treatment. Psst: This is where you come into the story and adopt him and love him forever!!
Max is a very affectionate kitty who absolutely adores attention! He thrives at cuddling and loves to be patted – his purrs are never ending. Max will happily roll onto his back for anyone who promises to give him a belly rub!! This amazing cat will blossom in his new home where he will enjoy a carefree life of cozy blankets, food a plenty and (hopefully) treats! Max is a simple guy who enjoys watching the world go by, or perhaps a game of chasing string.
Max has tested positive for FIV (click to read more about FIV+ cats), but please don’t judge this little fellow based on a blood test, he is a wonderful cat that can lead a long, happy life. Max is a special boy that has had a rough start to his very young life; he deserves a wonderful family that will love and cherish him forever.
If you want to open you heart and home to the ever affectionate Max, please contact TCR today (so we can get him out of the vet’s office and onto a warm couch!). To adopt, call 416-538-8592 and press 1, or email: email@example.com. To foster this adorable fellow, please fill in our online Foster Home Application. As Max’s stay at the vet has been long, TCR greatly appreciates donations in Max’s honour to put towards his medical bill. You can donate via Max’s Sponsorship Page.
Part 2 of a 3 Part Series on Feline Viruses
Feline Leukemia Virus infection was, until recently, the most common fatal disease of cats. Fewer cases of the disease are seen as there are now vaccines available. Like FIV, FeLeuk affects the feline immune system, which makes the cat more susceptible to disease. The virus is only transmitted between cats via bodily fluids. Transmission is primarily through intimate moist contact, such as biting/fighting or mutual grooming; transmission may be possible via sneezing, hissing, sharing food/water bowls, and sharing litter boxes. Veterinary tests are available for FeLeuk (vaccination does not interfere with testing in the case of FeLeuk).
Cats who test positive for FeLeuk may live for months to years, and in many cases it is possible to ensure a FeLeuk+ cat has a good quality of life through combined efforts of owner and veterinarian. Vaccines against FeLeuk are available, although you may wish to consider whether this is necessary for your cat. “Indoor cats” are considered at low risk for FeLeuk, although there can always be the risk of infection if an indoor cat escapes outdoors, or if another unvaccinated cat is brought into the home.
Cats with Feline Leukemia are frequently passed over when potential adopters search websites like Toronto Cat Rescue’s because they are seen as sickly or undesirable. Many volunteers and adopters do claim that FeLeuk cats are some of the most affectionate and most grateful cats when adopted and given a second chance in a forever home. While rare, Toronto Cat Rescue does have a few cats in our program with FeLeuk and their adoption rates are low.
There are many reasons to adopt cats with FeLeuk, especially if you have a big heart! Cats with FeLeuk can live for years if precautions are taken to protect their more fragile state. By feeding FeLeuk cats nutritionally complete and balanced diets, taking them to the vet regularly for wellness checks, and monitoring the cat’s health carefully, they can have long and healthy lives. They are in need of homes where they are the only cats in the home, or in a home with other FeLeuk positive cats, so that the virus is not spread to healthy cats.
Ema and Romeo pictured in this article have been waiting a very long time to be adopted, so we hope you will educate yourself about Feline Leukemia Virus. Please don’t pass them by like so many others have, especially if you are looking for one very deserving cat to love. TCR understands that it takes a very special, caring adopter to adopt a FeLeuk+ cat, so in lieu of our standard adoption fee, a donation of your choice is appreciated.
Additional FeLeuk resources:
Scientific Facts: Cornell University Fact Sheet
Medication & Support: Feline Leukemia Support
Taking Away The Mystery of FeLeuk: Best Friends Animal Society (series).