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FERAL COMMUNITY CAT PROGRAM

 

Have a feral cat problem?  Here are some ways we can help:  

 

FERAL CAT SPAY AND NEUTER VOUCHERS:  

Our feral cat voucher program is the best deal you can get in Modoc County for getting the ferals in your area altered. Just $50 covers not only the spay or neuter procedure, but also a rabies shot, an FVRCP shot, and treatment for minor scrapes and gashes.  Procedures that would normally cost $111 for a male and $166 for a female cat.  It also covers complicated spays or neuters, which can add  up to $243 MORE per cat!  So, even if the cat is in heat, pregnant or cryptorchid (where the testies are not in their normal position) the voucher covers it.  

This program is available to everyone, regardless of income.  Some free vouchers may even be available for severely low income persons when our funding allows.  

To use this program, the cat must be healthy, at least 2 pounds in weight, and delivered to the Veterinary Center in a Have-A-Heart style feral cat trapIt is important to immediately and completely cover the trap after you catch the cat. This will calm the cat and be less stressful for them.  The cat will have its ear tipped during surgery (see photo) so it will be clear it has been altered.  This prevents someone from trying to catch it again for alteration, and is a mandatory condition of the program.  Cats are unable to regulate their body temperature after surgery. For this reason, when the cat is picked up after surgery it is important they be kept in a warm, quiet space for 24 hours during recovery. Please see the RESOURCES section below for more information about how to successfully trap a feral cat.  Please note this program is NOT for pet cats. 

 

HAVE-A-HEART TRAP LENDING PROGRAM:

We have a number of live cat traps available for you to borrow.  Just stop by the Second Chance Thrift Store at 114 East First Street in Alturas to sign up for one.  Store hours are Wednesday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Our traps are not to be used to catch cats for euthanasia unless the cat is sick or severely hurt.  They are only to be used to catch, alter, vaccinate and then return the cats to the same location where they were originally trapped so they can continue to thrive and live out their

life.

 

EXPERT ASSISTANCE:  

If you are overwhelmed by the feral cats in your area, please contact our TNR Program Manager at ModocSpayAndNeuter@Gmail.com for advice and assistance.  

The High Plateau Humane Society (HPHS) started our feral cat TNR (Trap Neuter and Release) Program in 2021, and thanks to community assistance and foundation grants, it has been very successful.  

TNR and FERAL COMMUNITY CATS

Want to get more involved  in solving the feral cat problem?  Then you need to know a few things about feral cats.  

First, although they may seem like they live alone, feral cats actually live in extended colonies and have neighborhoods they hang around in.  Folks that dedicate themselves to helping these outdoor cats call them "Community Cats" for this reason.  If you want to help control the feral cat population and keep them healthy, you need to address the entire community of cats. 

To this end, the first goal of the TNR Program is to fix ALL the cats in a given colony before moving on to the next colony.  A female cat can become pregnant at as early as five months and can have up to three litters a year, and unaltered males will travel a long way to find unfixed females, so its easy to see how a partially fixed colony can repopulate again in a short time. 

The second goal  is to move to the next nearest colony and fix all the cats in the new colony, spiraling out in this manner to alter all the cats in a given area. This is when we see significantly fewer unwanted kittens being born and consequently fewer sick kittens being brought to HPHS, and we begin to make a difference in the lives of kittens, cats and the hard working volunteers at HPHS.

The final goal of our TNR Program is to return any lost domesticated cats to their home if possible, and move homeless adoptable cats into new homes.  We scan for microchips and check collars and tags when they are found to try to find owners, and homeless adoptable cats and kittens are transferred to our Pet Cat Program to be cared for until they can be adopted into new loving homes.

 LOW COST EUTHANASIA:  

Many feral cats in the area are very sick and you might occasionally find a severely injured one as well.  We can help you help that cat through our low cost euthanasia certificate.  This certificate costs $25 per animal  and is available to everyone, regardless of income, when it is used to put down a feral cat that is suffering.  This is about half the normal cost of euthanasia.  Please note, the Veterinary Center will NOT honor this voucher for healthy feral cats. 

FREE TRAINING ON HOW TO CATCH A FERAL CAT AND KITTENS.  

If you have never caught a cat or kitten in a Have-A-Heart trap, just ask for a demonstration when you pick up the trap and pick up a copy of the "Feral Cat Trapping Protocol" sheet while you are there.  Here are some tips:

Adult Cats:  Bait the trap with sardines, tuna or Frisky's canned cat food (DO NOT use clams or oysters as these can be toxic to cats), and set it up where the cats normally eat.  Do not leave other food out while you are trapping.  If you don't catch them on the first night, try propping the cage open with a plastic bottle (so it will not be triggered when a cat goes in) and leave food in the trap for a few nights so they get used to going in and out without a problem.  Then, set the trap again.  If you have skunks in your area, set the trap during the day NOT at night. 

Kittens:  Live traps can kill kittens, so they cannot be used in "automatic" mode (where the kitten's weight activates the trap) unless there is only ONE kitten in the area.  Kittens tend to follow each other into  the trap and if one is lagging when the other trips the trap, the door can crash down on the kitten in the entryway.  So, if you have more than one kitten (as you usually will), you have to manually trip the trap.  Do this by propping open the trap with a plastic bottle that is tied at the neck with a string.  Run the string out to a location behind a tree, or into your house where you can comfortably sit to watch the trap.  When a kitten goes inside, and no kitten is in the way of the door, pull the string to trip the trap.  Don't worry about scaring the other kittens that are outside the trap, they will come around again when the trap is reset.  As with the adult cats, you may need to prop open the trap door with a plastic bottle and leave it with food inside for a few  nights before you try to trip the trap to overcome the kitten's initial fear of the trap.

Cover Trap: Once you have trapped a cat or kitten, cover the trap with an old sheet or towel to keep them calm, and place the trap in a secure area out of the elements and away from dogs or predators.   They are likely to tear up the covering, so don't use anything new.  However, everyone will be better off if the cat can be kept as calm as possible while waiting for their vet visit.

BARN CAT PROGRAM:  

Want to add a feral cat to your property to do some mousing?  Or, do you have a feral cat or two that you want to relocate off your property?  Email us at ModocSpayAndNeuter@gmail.com with your name, address,  phone number and the number of cats you either want to have or want to relocate, and we will do our best to help.

WANT TO DO MORE?

 We could use your help with the TNR Program.  In fact, without community help the feral cat population will never stay at manageable levels. So, your help, and the help of your neighbors, is crucial.  Join us by emailing your interest to ModocSpayAndNeuter@Gmail.com!  You can also follow these guidelines and look at the RESOURCES at the bottom of this page to get more information.
  •  If you are currently feeding and providing shelters for outside cats, take advantage of our programs to get the cats fixed. The sooner the better, before the colony grows. We want to support your compassion for these kitties. Community cat caretakers are encouraged to register online on our confidential database. Go here to create an account.

  • Become a TNR trapper.  Online or in-person training is available. It is a fun and satisfying activity knowing you are helping these wonderful kitties.

  • Build winter shelters or feeding stations for the cats. These can be anything from quite simple to more elaborate.
  • Donate money or items to HPHS, or host a fundraiser to support the TNR Program. Common fundraisers include holding a yard sale, a car wash, or a bake sale; donating items to the HPHS online auctions; or holding a Facebook birthday fundraiser to name just a few.

  • Foster kittens who are found during TNR trappings.  Many need medical attention or are at an age that if they are socialized they can be adopted out as pets.   Please note that healthy kittens who are in a safe location and being cared for by their mamma will be monitored by TNR Program volunteers and NOT scooped up for fostering until they are weaned or close to weaning age.

  •  Be a community cat advocate! Spread the word and educate people about these programs available to help community cats. See the list of resources below for more ideas and information.

RESOURCES

WANT TO BUILD A WINTER SHELTER FOR A FERAL CAT?   Visit neighborhoodcats.org where you will find ideas and instructions for a wide variety of DIY shelters.   Or try Ten Small Pet Hoses from Five Sheets of Plywood.

WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT FERAL CAT COLONIES?  Try these websites:

A Guide to all things TNR

Modoc County Cat Stats

Caretaker Tips and Tricks Podcast

Trapper Tips and Tricks Podcast

The Kitten Lady's Kitten Care Webinar Series