Feral Cats Issues
Please note: Owl Pest Control no longer undertake feral cat control and only offers the information, advice, and contacts below.
Owl do not remove domestic/spayed/neutered/shipped or collared cats from a property under any circumstances.
What are Feral Cats?
Feral cats are animals that are no longer under human control, but live and reproduce in the wild, usually in close association with humans. Humans have neglected these animals, which live exposed to disease, hunger, weather and attack from dogs, humans or other animals. Some of these wild cats may survive for several years before succumbing to starvation, disease, dogs, other animals or motor vehicles. Failure to prevent or control the feral cat population amounts to inhumane treatment of animals.
Recommendations for long term wild cat control
1. Maintaining good health and control of pets:
- Pet cats should be kept indoors.
- Require routine vaccinations for rabies and other feline diseases.
- Require that cats wear a collar and tag when outside.
- Require that cats be neutered
- Require that cats be fed indoors or that owners remove excess food immediately after feeding cats outdoors.
2. Food Source Reduction:
- Prohibit the feeding of wild animals on the property.
- Make sure wheelie bins are kept closed at all times or else are put in closed bin sheds.
- Do not keep feeding feral cats that have not been spayed and neutered as the property will soon be overwhelmed by kittens.
3. Habitat Reduction:
- Eliminate potential harbourage sites such as brush piles and junk piles.
- Prevent access to buildings by sealing openings to the structure (e.g. use chicken wire for air vents in underground car parks). For house gardens, consider improving the fencing, e.g. block access through iron side gate and add fencing above surrounding walls. There are also some devices that make it impossible for cats to walk on, yet without harming them:
Cat fencing above wall
Cat repellent spikes
- After initial sealing or repairs, check weekly for one month to prevent reopening of sealed areas. Make immediate repairs to buildings as new damage or access holes are found.
- Encourage compliance by persons not directly involved in animal care and control.
- Provide information about the hazards faced by feral cats and the importance of responsible pet ownership (importance of spaying and neutering pets and keeping them indoors).
The "Trap-Neuter-Return" (TNR) Method
TNR method consist of humanely trapping feral cats, have them neutered / spayed and vaccinated. Then they are also brought back to their familiar environment to live their lives (approx. 10 years). Neutered male cats are less at risk of injury and infection, having lost their natural instinct to fight with other cats. Spaying also means female cats will not go into heat and therefore attract fewer tom cats to the area, reducing fighting.
The advantage of this method is to keep a small number of healthy cats on a "territory", with better chances to prevent other cats from colonizing an "empty" area, following the removal of all feral cats for instance.
TRN may be the least costly solution in areas where cat access cannot be prevented. Nevertheless, it is recommended that someone on site keeps an eye on the cats, providing them with food, water, and a shelter.
Control Option Involving The DSPCA
The DSPCA (Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is a registered charity, established in 1840 to prevent cruelty to animals and is now Ireland's largest animal welfare organisation. The have extensive experience in controlling feral cats in large areas such as hospital grounds or University campus.
Completely removing feral cats from an area often results in new cats from the neighbourhood moving in the "empty" space in a matter of months. On another hand, they noticed that keeping 1 or 2 healthy neutered 'Tom cats' in an area prevents other feral cats from moving into the grounds.
The procedure consists of trapping all cats at one time, having them examined by a veterinary surgeon to decide which cats will be saved / neutered / re-housed / reintroduced / or euthanized (e.g. suffering from injuries or illnesses).
There are situations where the DSPCA will and will not be involved. For enquiries and full details please contact the DSPCA at the address below:
Tel: (01) 4994700
Mount Venus Road,