Help us look out for London’s feral feline colonies.
Feral cats are wild, unowned outdoor cats who often live in groups called colonies.
These cats have typically had very little, if any, contact with humans and so are scared of people, much like foxes. In fact, they find proximity to humans highly distressing and will usually try to hide to avoid people. Contrary to some beliefs, they cannot be rehomed as domestic pets and they do not tolerate handling.
They can never be tame, and will suffer a great deal if forced to live inside. If a cat is feral, the most compassionate option is to keep it feral – trying to tame a feral and bring it indoors will only cause undue stress and harm to the cat’s health and mental well-being.
To truly be a Feral AdvoCAT, understanding feral cats and their unique needs is key.
It's estimated that there are thousands of feral cat colonies in London - some may even visit your back garden from time to time. This is because the majority of London cats are semi-feral, which means that they are used to being around people. Sometimes they will seek out feeders but are still not happy being domesticated or having hands-on human contact.
Unneutered female cats are able to reproduce from just four months old and can have two or three litters a year, with an average of four kittens per litter. At Mayhew we run a Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) programme to help contain and control the local cat population in London, but sadly the pandemic has had a negative effect on feral cat colonies due to charities neutering projects being unable to continue.
The increased numbers of cats means that there is likely to be a strain on their resources. As colonies grow, there is more chance of cats coming to harm, through fighting, malnutrition and the spread of diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).
From understanding and acknowledging their unique needs, to providing water and shelter, there’s a few simple ways you can help your local feral cat colonies. Mayhew has been tirelessly tackling cat welfare for two decades and we believe that this issue needs addressing with increased urgency. It is crucial to raise awareness further of the range of issues affecting cat safety and we can do this with your support.Become a Feral AdvoCAT
Helping feral cats doesn’t just have a positive effect on the felines, we’ve experienced instances where cats have saved human lives too.
Doreen Beresford has been helping her local feral cat colony for years. She’s bonded with her neighbours over the cats and has seen first hand how caring for them has given some of the vulnerable people in her community a sense of purpose.
Please help us share our campaign on social media using the hashtag #FeralAdvoCAT so that we can spread awareness and encourage more people to look out for feral cats.
To help control and contain the feral cat population in London, our Animal Welfare Officers run a Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) programme. Our professionally trained AWOs look at each feral cat individually and gather us much information as possible before deciding what the best particular approach will be for that cat.
If you know of feral cats or feral cat colonies in your area, please call us.