Urban Backyard Ferals

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    Help King County become the first No Kill County in the state of Washington while reducing rodents ‘n’ moles in your yard. Please consider adopting 2 – 4 altered Feral cats for your backyard. To start this conversation and hopefully initiate a full up Urban Backyard Feral program in West Seattle, following are some facts, data, information and contacts. For those that do not agree with Urban Backyard Ferals, let’s encourage a respectful exchange of ideas. Also, it is okay to agree, to disagree.

    1. A Feral is a cat that is not used to human contact. Ferals are domestic or cats that were dumped by their humans or lost and have reverted to a wild state; and kittens born to (dumped/lost) unaltered, domestic cats and have never had contact with humans.

    2. When brought into an animal shelter the Kill Rate of Feral cats is almost 100%–even though Ferals, in general, are very, very healthy—as healthy as ‘owned’ cats. Why are they killed? Because they are considered unadoptable—in a ‘domestic’ sense.

    3. But wait—Ferals are adoptable! Backyard Ferals are fabulous, low-supervision employees. They love coming to work everyday to catch mice, rats and moles. They only ask for a decent meal from their human caretaker 1-2 times a day, plus fresh water and a bit of shelter.

    4. Feral cats that are trapped-neuter-returned or relocated (TNR), then supported by a person with food and minimal shelter, live good, healthy lives as semi-wild animals. The national protocol is to return the Ferals to the site they were trapped at–as that ‘is their home’. However, circumstances sometimes required relocation….hence, the need for Urban Backyard Homes.

    5. Once neutered, cats generally stop fighting and spraying and…always stop reproducing.

    6. For those that are concerned about birds (as am I), there are easy steps we can all take in all of our yards to protect birds and their nests. Just ask and I will provide resources, links and proven techniques.

    7. By adopting backyard Ferals, you can be part of the No Kill Revolution:

    • You can help make TNR and relocation of Shelter Ferals more mainstream and accepted.

    • You can demonstrate that Feral cats and birds can co-exist.

    • You can stop the needless killing of Ferals by giving our Shelters an option for placement of Ferals

    8. Consider reading Nathan Winograd’s book: The No Kill Revolution. Nathan is the No Kill Consultant that our King County Council has hired. Also see the Puget Sound’s own ‘Feral Care’, http://www.feralcare.org ; Neighborhood Cats http://www.neighborhoodcats.org , ‘Alley Cat Allies’ http://www.alleycat.org , Feral Cat Coalition – http://www.feralcat.com , and the Homeless Cat Network, http://www.homelesscatnetwork.com –who successfully partnered with the Sequoia Audubon Society to find a resolution for co-habitation of nesting birds and altered Ferals.

    And please remember: 65% – 80% of kittens born are to feral and stray cats. If not rescued, within six months 2 out of 3 of the kittens have died from (mostly) preventable or treatable illnesses. If you are feeding a Feral or stray cat—thank you for your kindness. Please take the next important step of altering the cat you are feeding—stop the reproduction cycle. If you need to borrow traps and ascertain neuter/spay resources, please let me know.



    Thank you for the resource list; I’ll investigate. My biggest concern is effects on the native wildlife/birds; I’ll be interested to see what methods have been used successfully to make this work.

    Would placement of feral cats have a net effect of reducing or expanding the total number of feral cats? On the one hand, more of them might get neutered. On the other hand, more of them might survive.



    Thank you for reminding everyone of this. I live near highpoint and there has been a constant influx of abandoned cats over the years, especially following the tear downs. I have shelter, food/water and even a litter box outside so the neighbors don’t receive little gifts in the garden. I’ve also had all the one’s I watch out for, neutered.

    It requires so little effort compared to the benefits. I have never had a single rodent in or around my house. To those worried about birds, my dog has found and brought only one into the house. No way to tell how it met its demise. Another time, I heard a bird squeal and was able to scare the cat into dropping it. This is over the course of several years.

    I know it’s possible more have been caught, but I have not found any other evidence of it. I still have three different bird species brave enough to nest every spring and close to a dozen different types, visit in large numbers all summer long.

    As to the net effect of increasing the colony, if you trap and neuter, the numbers automatically decline. Left alone, they almost all survive long enough to have a litter or two.


    Hi Julie,

    Thank you for your post. After you have a chance to check out the listed resources, please let me know if I can provide anymore information on wildlife/bird cohabitation with Ferals. Good question re: the Feral cat population impact. By spaying/neutering the Feral cats, we reduce the population over time.

    Hi JT.

    Thank you for your post and for discussing your experience with bird and Feral cohabitation. Stories like yours help confirm that we as humans can care about and for all animals. And a HUGE thank you for all of the Ferals ‘n’ strays that you have altered and still care for.

    By the way, we need people in West Seattle that are willing to show others how to TNR. Our thought is that the more people that see they can trap/neuter/return, the more Feral advocates we will develop. Would you have time/be interested in assisting with being a Coach/Mentor as calls come in for assistance? Thanks for considering this request.



    My eight year old woke me up with these wise words:

    If you don’t pet your pet, then your pet is not really a pet.

    Made me smile.

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