Newsletter August 2018
FERAL CATS IN THE BUSINESS PARK
By Robyn Morton, Muizenberg East Conservation Assistant
We’re noticing feral cats in Capricorn Park that have not been seen here before this year. Cats are one of the biggest threats to our wildlife, which means we don’t want the feral cat population to grow exponentially.
With this in mind, and with the help of TEARS, we have begun a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) practice in the Park. TNR means that feral cats are trapped and brought to the clinic to be sterilised, vaccinated for rabies, dewormed, and treated for fleas and ticks, as well as being ear-tipped. This is the surgical removal of the extreme tip of the cat’s ear to identify them has having been sterilised. Then, as quickly as possible, they are returned to the colony they came from.
These cats need to be sterilised otherwise the problem soon multiplies in the form of litter after litter of kittens born into a life of suffering. A female, as young as six-months old, can have three litters of kittens a year, and the colony begins to expand at a startling speed and in frightening numbers.
These young females experience high levels of stress while nursing, and without human intervention as many as half of the litter may die. If the population grows, then more wild life from the conservation area is hunted and killed.
A feral cat is a cat that has been born wild, having never had close human interaction in its lifetime. Feral cats cannot be tamed; they become stressed if they are kept in captivity by humans. They are quite happy to have a life of freedom, living outside with no owner, especially if they have been sterilised, and if they are healthy and fed. The reality is that the survival instinct of feral kitties drives them to avoid human interaction. If their basic survival needs are met, feral cats do much better living outside on their own turf.
If you see any cats in the Park, please email us at Muizenberg.East@capetown.gov.za with a description of the cat and its location.
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