Did you know at any given time 2/3 of the population in our shelter is comprised of felines? These cats come to us for many different reasons; a friendly stray arrives on your porch, someone is moving, a found litter of kittens, aged animals. The most difficult cats to manage in a shelter environment are the free roaming and feral population that people choose to trap and bring to Talbot Humane. When the public brings us these cats they have trapped and say, “ Oh, I know you can find a farm for him.” Well, sadly that is not always the case.
A few things people do not realize. Talbot County code allows for the immediate euthanizing of feral cats. Talbot Humane’s policy is an emphatic NO on this point. We keep every cat, even those arriving in traps and behaving in an aggressive manner for a period of time for observation. We do our best to mitigate the stress of the shelter for these cats and give them time to decompress. There are many times we find upon allowing these kitties to settle for a few days they are not wild, or feral. They were probably someone’s pet at some point who just let them go. Other times it is clear these cats are free roaming animals that have no interest in human contact. A truly feral cat experiences a great deal of stress when confined and are dangerous to those caring for them when living in a cage indefinitely. For a cat to enter the barn cat program they must be somewhat manageable by humans as there is an entire process to acclimating them to a new environment so that they actually remain in the area. Shelter life for the most well-adjusted cat is stressful. Imagine being a wild cat, not used to human contact in close quarters with humans and other cats. TERRIFYING and frankly inhumane.
For these reasons we are asking for the community’s help! Before you simply set a trap for a cat coming to your property and bring to Talbot Humane please give us a call! Are you OK with a couple cats but you are afraid 2 will turn into 10? We can help with spay/neuter and vaccinations. If you really do not want them on your property, they may be coming from another area. Assess to see what is attracting them. Are you feeding other wildlife outside? Are you leaving trash uncovered which attracts wildlife and cats? Our staff can provide you with humane methods of excluding unwanted animals from your yard, flower beds, and sheds.
Last year our open admission shelter took in 605 felines (each year this number declines a bit!) 68 of those cats were euthanized (this number too continues to decline.) The majority of these felines were euthanized for medical reasons, but a portion were feral or semi feral cats which could not be placed in a new location, often because a property owner refused return of the cats even though we offered spay/neuter services. Our goal is to reduce the number of otherwise healthy, free roaming cats entering the shelter in 2019. We ask you to consider being a part of the solution and work with Talbot Humane to reduce the number of unwanted animals entering our care and protect the animals of our community.