Complaints about feeding a pre-existing feral colony - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-09-2013, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Complaints about feeding a pre-existing feral colony

We are in a temporary rental while our house is being rebuilt after a fire. It is a small community of townhouses, maybe 45 units.

We have been here since December 2012, and will likely be here until July 2013. I am writing on April 9, 2013

We currently have five cats inside with us, and are feeding two remaining ones from an outside litter on the property where the house is located. A third littermate was recently killed by loose roaming dogs.

There is a colony of cats here of about 8. They were here before we were. We were here for a while letting them be, until I saw an obvious momcat and three babies fall out of one of the dumpsters. So for about a month now we have been putting food out. I am sure they have noticed our cats in the window, and that ours have seen them through the window as well, and that there has been SOME sort of communication, although there is no wailing or howling, at least that I hear.

One of the babies hangs around here a lot, and has become a big fan of a shoelace on a stick toy, and comes up to sniff and swat at my fingers. He also seems very intrigued by what/who is inside.

We were just informed that the management is getting complaints about the cats.

What should we do? We were hoping to find a neighbor to continue putting food out after we moved back, even if we had to buy the food.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-09-2013, 08:23 PM
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Some people really don't like cats.

If there is a TNR program in the area, I'd talk with them about working with the colony. Even the complainers would hopefully see the benefit of that operation.

In the meantime, I'd file a complaint with the management about the loose roaming dogs.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-09-2013, 08:43 PM
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I would suggest that you get in touch with a local TNR group if there's one in your area to see what can be done to rehome the kittens and have the adults fixed. Then, I would think the best thing to do is to go down and talk to management about the situation, explain that you're just trying to help the cats. If you can work with a local rescue group to have them fixed and vaccinated, that will help control the population, control disease and reduce problems with cat fights and such. It would be a good thing for the cats and for the neighbors.

Your neighbors may be worried that feeding the cats will draw more cats to the area which will then start causing problems. Having the cats around a lot may also be causing issues with your neighbor's pets. Some housecats can have some pretty serious redirected aggression problems when they see a strange cat roaming around. Of course, you may have some neighbors who just don't like cats and don't like to see them around. I think the thing to do is to try to work with management to figure out what the real issues are and find a way to address them while still being able to care for the cats. It may turn out that they're not willing to budge on the issue, but it's certainly worth a shot.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-09-2013, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you.

NebraskaCat & Nell;

Thanx for the replies and suggestions. I am including a letter I have written to the management company. I would appreciate any thoughts as to what to add or take out.

I don't write much to Catforum, but they are all angels to me.


Dear Manager;

As to the issue with the neighborhood cats.

Our five cats do not run loose outside. So they are not the issue.

The ones in the feral colony were here when we moved in. There are about eight that I can indentify. I started putting food out when I saw a mother and three kittens fall out of one of the dumpsters. I am sure you will not challenge the humanity of that decision. Our feeding them has not attracted any new cats to the neighborhood. Those that have been here will protect their territory from newcomers. That is the way of cat colonies.

The population needs to be controlled through trapping, neutering and returning them to their territory so the don’t overpopulate themselves into starvation.

We started to look into a Trap-Neuter-Return program, but have been somewhat consumed by other things.

The TNR program will at least prevent regular litters of new kittens, and the existing ones will protect their territory from outside intruders. If you remove them, they will be replaced by other strays being pushed out of other colonies. That is the way of cats and society.

At our home, we took about eight to a TNR clinic over a few weeks. The nursing mother and her babies decided to stay on the property. One baby and the mother disappeared after about six months. The three others remained. Until recently, when the neighbor’s loose dogs got into the construction fence, and the next day I found one of that colony dead, with blood around her neck.

The cats, at least, are not as threatening as any of the dogs, many of which, even if attended, run free unleashed. They also help control any population of mice, rats, including roof rats, and pigeons, all of which are know to be disease carriers, and much more damaging pests.

People like dogs because they can be trained, will obey commands, and try to please. People love cats because they are what they are.

I will get back to the TNR clinic, and will put food out twice a day instead of keeping the bowls full for now.

BTW, one of them very recently delivered a litter. It was big and round and is suddenly thin, and its nipples are quite enlarged, so she is nursing. I have no idea where the babies are. They are probably about a week old now.

Thank you.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-09-2013, 11:46 PM
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I would probably remove the "People like dogs..." line.

You are trying to be professional, and ultimately asking the management company to do you a favour and allow the colony to be dealt with in a human and compassionate way. Alienating any potential dog owners isn't the way to approach it.

If possible, I would try at the very least to find a local TNR service, so you can mention them by name, even if it's just something like "We started to look into a Trap-Neuter-Return program, but have been somewhat consumed by other things. A potential program is XYZ TNR, who are local to Pheonix and have a successful history in supporting local cat colonies. You can see their program at the following website for more information about the benefits to cats and the local community here: <weblink>"

It won't take more than a few minutes to look one up. You might possible want to hold off contacting them though, and tell the building manager you are waiting to hear back from them - as ultimately its the management's property and there's no point TNR'ing if they're going to call animal control and displace all the cats in a few weeks.

My local rescue has their TNR information here: Trap Neuter Return (TNR) Program

Even if you can't find a Phoeniz TNR group, it's might be useful to send some information about the TNR process and how it's beneficial to a community.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-10-2013, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thanx, Jacq. Good points.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-10-2013, 01:07 AM
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I would suggest something more like this:

To whom it may concern,

I apologize that you’ve received complaints about the stray cats I’ve been feeding. My intentions were only to help the animals and not to cause a disturbance. I would like to continue to care for this group of cats without it being a problem to my neighbors, and I will stop leaving out food throughout the day so they aren’t continuously hanging around the premises. There is at least one litter of kittens in the group, and I have contacted a local rescue group about trapping and rehoming them. I also hope to work with this rescue to neuter the remaining adult cats to help reduce their numbers over time.

Again, I’m sorry if this has been a problem, but I would like to work with you to resolve this issue while still being able to help the animals. I care about these cats and would like to see them taken care of in a kind and compassionate manner.

Thank you,
Your name
Phone number
email

If I were management, I would want to hear the person take responsibility for the problem and tell me what they were going to do to fix it. Be empathetic to their situation, don't shift blame, but add a little bit of feeling so that they realize you're a person and not just some nameless tenant. HTH
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-10-2013, 01:27 AM
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This sounds really good from a professional point of view...a letter from shelter to support yours would be powerful...(short and sweet of course) I like the education you mentioned of how the cat colony works...shows knowledge)


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Last edited by marie73; 04-10-2013 at 02:15 AM.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 01:52 PM
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I personally liked the first letter. I would give your management an article on the growing movement of TNR around the country. So they can see this is how it is being handled everywhere. Not a new idea by you but part of a solution.

Let us know managements response. Were here to brain storm with you. I would have a few extra articles to give to neighbors to educate them. It would be nice to lobby them on to your side of this issue.

I liked Nebraska cats idea of reporting the dogs. First to management and then to proper authorities. That needs to be stopped immediately. Let the irresponsible dog owner know this wont fly!

Thanks for being the proactive voice of these kitties.
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