The fate of an abandoned house cat that is left in a wooded area is many times a fatality; however some house cats survive the harsh terrain and environment. Woodland feral cats sleep during the day and awake at dusk to forage, socialize and mate. The night provides a safer environment for the cats as they are terrified of humans.
Periodically cats will be viewed in the morning hours, they may be seeking food, water or they may be injured. Trapping feral woodland cats does take skills as one must locate the colony and then bond with the cats.
Find out if the cats are being cared for by a colony caregiver. If there is a caregiver then offer your contact information and ask the ranger if they would pass on your business card.
Set up Cat Feeding Station
Fill a bowl with dry cat food. Food that is fortified with antioxidants will help in boosting cats immune system. Fill a separate bowl with fresh water. If cats are viewed lurking in the distance, top the dry kibble with stinky fish flavored wet food like Friskies mixed grill.
- Take photographs of the surrounding area, the woodland feral cats, and write your notes on the cats and shelter. Document their characteristics, mannerisms, sex, and keep your notes in a binder.
- Watch the food bowls; if there are many cats the bowl and water will need to be filled Do this by approaching the feeding station slowly, and do not make eye contact with the cats.
- Fill the bowls and then back away from the area slowly.
The cats may seem friendly, however you must respect them at all times and do not attempt to pet them. If you do so this will scare the cat and the cat will react by scratching you or biting you. If a cat bites you then animal control will cease the cat and euthanize the cat because it is not vaccinated for rabies or other cat diseases. Therefore respect the cat and keep your hands away from the woodland feral cat.
Move the cat in the trap away from the trap site and place in the transport vehicle, a van is useful when trapping a colony of cats. Transport cats to veterinarians for medical care.
Release the cats to the trapping site when the veterinarian tells you it is okay to do so.
- When cats are released to the colony resume feeding the cats at the station.
- Contact cat network in your area and ask for volunteer in your area to help with caring for the cats.
- Rehabilitate kittens for adoption, by socializing them in your home or with the other caregivers.
- Keep a current journal on all of the cats, that way you will know their medical needs and when they will need to be re-trapped for shot updates.